Faculty union votes ‘no confidence’ against Temple University’s board of trustees chair and provost

81% of union faculty members endorsed the "no confidence" vote against the university provost and trustee chair amid concerns over campus safety and labor disputes.

A flag bearing Temple University's logo flies at half-staff.

The flag atop Carnell Hall at Montgomery Avenue and North Broad Street on the Temple University campus. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Temple Association of University Professionals has endorsed a “no-confidence” measure against two top university officials amid growing concerns over campus safety, financial issues, and ongoing labor disputes.

Over 1,000 members participated in the weeklong vote against University Provost Gregory Mandel and Board of Trustees Chair Mitchell Morgan. TAUP announced Monday that more than 81% of respondents voted no confidence.

The union announced last month it would move forward with the vote against Mandel, Morgan, and former university President Jason Wingard, who resigned at the end of March.

In a statement, TAUP said the Board of Trustees created a special committee to address concerns after the vote was authorized, but it only included current board members and “none of the key stakeholders at the university.”

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“It has become abundantly clear that key stakeholders at our university — people whose work and commitment ensures that Temple fulfills its mission —  must be part of the biggest decision-making processes,” TAUP Vice President of Organization Hammam Aldouri said.

“We are eager to move forward and build a positive relationship with Temple leadership so that we can refocus our energies on what is most important: providing an internationally recognized university that prepares students to be leaders in their fields of work and study,” Aldouri said.

Acting university President JoAnne Epps released a statement Monday saying Temple “respects and takes seriously the sentiment expressed by TAUP in this vote.”

“We have a long and proud tradition of welcoming free expression and I want to personally thank all constituencies who invest the energy and effort to make their feelings known,” Epps said. “As a community, we may not always agree — and we don’t have to — but if we don’t share our views, we cannot increase our understanding and move forward. To ensure this, we must listen to the diverse perspectives of all Temple constituencies, act collaboratively and regain faculty confidence.”

The union action comes as TAUP prepares to enter contract and salary negotiations with the university. In a statement, TAUP accused Temple’s administration of “refusing to negotiate on campus, instead pushing for off-site, costly negotiations.”

“On campus negotiations would allow for increased transparency and accessibility for TAUP members to engage with the process, and would be a small but significant step towards rebuilding trust in the Temple community in a concrete and meaningful way,” TAUP said. “We are hopeful that Temple administration will understand this and meet TAUP at the negotiation table on campus, a space we all share and care for.”

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The statement from Epps said trustees are “engaged in a robust listening tour that includes deans, senior administrators, faculty, students, parents and representatives of campus safety,” and university leaders will continue meeting with “these and other groups in the weeks to come.”

“The collective energy and spirit of everyone who is committed to the future of this university brings a basis for optimism,” Epps said. “With the support of the Board of Trustees and my leadership team, I am confident that together we are on the right path to lead the collective effort toward meaningful and sustainable impact.”

On March 10, the university reached a tentative deal with the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association, ending a six-week strike.

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