A majority of Ithaca College faculty members have recently voted “no confidence” in College President Tom Rochon, according to results of the Faculty Council no confidence vote released this week.
Results showed 316 faculty members, or 77.8% of those who voted, reported having no confidence in Rochon, saying there are too many issues that have angered students, including his handling of racial incidents.
The vote comes after a semester of on-campus protests looking for Rochon to voluntarily resign. A student no confidence vote showed 71.75% of those who participated voted “no confidence,” with 3,756 students of the 6,907 students responding to it.
After the student vote, student body president Dom Recckio announced a new student government model that would begin with a value session in an effort to assess what students look for in a leader. Recckio said data would be collected by the student government association and given to the board of trustees.
People of Color at Ithaca College and other student activists held a silent protest and week-long sit-in at the admissions building on campus over the last two weeks. The second walkout of the semester was held by the group on December 11, with Rochon in attendance saying everyone needs to learn together and be all in for Ithaca College together.
In all, 406 of the 469 faculty members who were emailed the poll responded. Responding to the statement “I have no confidence in the current President of Ithaca College,” 77.8% of those who voted agreed and 22.2% said they disagreed. 13.4% did not vote.
Responses from Rochon and Tom Grape, chair of the Ithaca College Board of Trustees, were issued shortly after the poll results were released, with Rochon’s statement relaying his previous thoughts concerning staying in his position.
“I remain determined to improve Ithaca College’s culture for the better, and that includes improving my own approach to collaborating with our faculty, staff, and students. l am committed to working with every faculty member, every staff member, and every student who desires to make Ithaca College a more welcoming and inclusive community.”
Meanwhile, Grape said the full board of trustees would be updated on the situation with a note going out to the campus community early on in the spring semester.
Following the resignation of University of Missouri System president Tim Wolfe, POC @ IC held their first solidarity walkout, pushing for Rochon to leave his position. The event, attended by around 600 students and faculty, was the result of Rochon’s response to racism on campus, which many felt was not enough, writes Sam Lisker for USA Today.
Rochon held office hours to meet with students late last week. However, it was met with another student walkout led by members of POC @ IC. Both faculty and students report feeling that Rochon’s efforts have been disingenuous.