Faculty votes no confidence in Carson-Newman president

Faculty votes no confidence in Carson-Newman president

October 5, 2006

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) -- A majority of the faculty at Carson-Newman College Thursday voted no confidence in the leadership of President James Netherton.

The vote of 129-71 was announced by Dr. David Nowell, the senior vice president for advancement and administration.

Faculty members and alumni said the vote was taken over declining enrollment and recent faculty demotions.

"The Board of Trustees has ignored a lot of red flags for many years and they've got their heads in the sand," said alumnus Bill Powell. "They need to pay attention to what's going on or it's going to be too late."

Powell said there were concerns about two recent faculty demotions, in particular. "One of them was demoted and the other was given just one year and we just said enough is enough."

Netherton was notified Monday that the Faculty Council had forwarded a no confidence resolution to the full faculty for a vote. 

The vote does not mean the faculty wants Netherton to resign. They want the Board of Trustees to address the no confidence issue.

That will happen at the end of October when 34-member Board of Trustees will meet to discuss the vote.

Some who spoke with 6 News Thursday say the vote was also taken over a misuse of college funding. "The faculty have not gotten raises for the last three out of four years and during that same time, the five top administrators were awarded very well financially," one man said.

However, the senior leadership of the college adamantly denies any misuse of funding.

A statement from the Board of Trustees chairman Thursday says, "It is important for the constituents of Carson-Newman College to know of our support of President Netherton and the faculty and that we are committed to doing what is in the best interest of the College and its mission. We are approaching this matter with prayerful diligence and faith that God will bring from this situation a positive solution and a brighter future for this great institution."

Carson-Newman is a four year, liberal arts Southern Baptist college located in Jefferson City. This is the first no confidence vote in one of its presidents.

6 News Reporter Jeff Lennox contributed to this report.

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