No Confidence 2021

Since James Smith was selected as EMU's president in 2016, without faculty input, there have been significant issues with his implementation of shared governance and transparency in decision making, particularly in regard to public/private partnerships and financial decisions.  These decisions have not been driven by the needs of Academic and Student Affairs, and have negatively impacted the affordability and reputation of EMU in a variety of ways. 

Higher education is characterized by shared governance, which involves a balance between the governing board, faculty and administration in decision making.  EMU requires a rebalancing in the powers of these critical partners who will determine the future of EMU.  

The following no confidence resolutions were adopted by Senate on December 1, 2021:

These concerns were also presented in the Senate's response to the EMU Higher Learning Commission Assurance Argument [PDF].

The Senate engaged in a long and highly deliberative process in taking this action.  Additional efforts to reestablish a balanced shared governance system at EMU include:

A letter was sent to the President and Board of Regents after the no confidence vote that made four requests:

  • EMU transforms the strategic plan into a living document that guides the operation and financial decisions made by the University.
  • EMU follows up on the work of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion and fully implements their recommendations, or undertakes equivalent initiatives in the spirit of those recommendations.
  • EMU embraces and reaffirms the Statement on the Government of Colleges and Universities, particularly in regard to areas of joint responsibility, as cited in the Faculty Senate By-laws.
  • EMU acts in the public good and makes sound, transparent financial decisions, with full input from the faculty, which will ensure that our students are protected from the profit motives of private ventures and will support the continued viability of the educational mission of the institution.

As of this date, Senate has not received a response to these requests.