Members of Grambling State University’s Faculty Senate have voted no-confidence in president Willie Larkin, the latest headline in a growing narrative of strapped finances and few answers amid Louisiana’s looming budget crisis.
According to documents obtained by the HBCU Digest, 10 senate members voted non-confidence in Larkin, who was appointed last June. Seven faculty members voted against the no-confidence vote, and one member abstained.
The vote caps what senate members described as months of non-response and ineffective leadership from Larkin, who declared financial exigency of the school’s nursing program in August, the suspension of its national search for an athletic director this week, and a community town hall meeting during which a student questioned his allegiance to the university.
In a five-page letter to faculty, Senate President Herbert Simmons Jr. offers details and insight into the lack of engagement with professors, and the perceived peril for the university’s future under Larkin’s leadership.
“Grambling’s current administration appears to be groping in the dark and tinkering with small expedients. With deep regrets and to this date we have yet to receive any clear indication or any decisive plans of action informing us as to where the administration is taking the university and how it intends to solve or address the looming financial dilemmas. We have informed the administration of our concerns for developing plans for addressing many of the university’s unmet needs, especially in the areas of supporting campus programs, faculty and non-teaching staff.”
“We have yet to receive any plausible information regarding resource development, physical plant upgrades, and an overall visionary approach and plan of action for the university. We have received no response concerning plans to provide a scholarly approach to examining and developing new and needed academic program offerings, efforts to address the deficiency in student financial aid, a genuine discussion of shared governance, the need for specialized programs to enhance the effectiveness of training and the quality of learning; commercial ventures and activities that could transform Grambling into a more effective, less stressed and financially burdened public service agency.”
Officials have not yet made a statement on the vote.