Failure to Communicate
The faculty went public with its frustration at a meeting of the college's board of trustees on March 26. Saying he spoke as "a representative of a unified faculty," David Wooten, a member of the biology department, addressed the trustees--and a standing-room-only crowd of supporters. Wooten acknowledged that "it became apparent early on that President Bellanca and former VP Stuart Blacklaw had a difficult working relationship.
"But," Wooten continued, "the fact that Stuart was fired 'effective immediately' when the entire faculty was in a meeting, the fact that he was in front of us not five minutes prior talking about his continued efforts for faculty support, the fact that he was not given the opportunity to leave his position respectfully and with prior notification, the fact that faculty were in a union meeting discussing how to communicate and collaborate better with this administration, while that same administration was firing our VP right under our noses without any communication to us, is beyond ironic."
Then Wooten asked, "If there are any faculty members here that share these thoughts, please show their support by raising their hand." The response was virtually unanimous--about fifty hands went up. To underline the point, the faculty took out a full-page ad the next week in the Washtenaw Voice, the campus newspaper, announcing a scholarship in the name of Stuart Blacklaw--the vice president Bellanca had just fired.