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Faculty respond to TBR's 'interim actions' taken at Northeast State Community College

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We are learning more about the interim actions put in place by the Tennessee Board of Regents at Northeast State Community College.

It's been less than a month since the Faculty Senate voted "no confidence" against President Dr. Janice Gilliam. That was on January 30th. A statement said they voted based on three issues: financial management, academic management and shared governance.

On February 2nd, the entire faculty also voted "no confidence." And on February 9th, the board of regents visited the campus to interview faculty and staff.

"We're really glad that TBR is taking action and stepping in," vice president of the Faculty Senate, Nona Shepherd said.

This after more than two-thirds of the faculty casted a vote of "no confidence" in their president, Dr. Gilliam.

"This is a path that we did not take lightly," Shepherd said. "And it's one that we're only on because we are very concerned."

TBR made three recommendations. First, a new CFO has been hired to manage campus spending. Second, faculty tell us, TBR will be on campus next week to look at how academic affairs are managed. And third, TBR, the college and the faculty senate will work together to find better ways of communication.

"We do want to see maybe a better system set up for faculty voice," Shepherd said.

And some faculty feel the dispute has lowered morale and spilled over into the classroom.

"It has affected sometimes our relationships with students, and our ability to do our job," Shepherd said.

But students we talked with said they're not too worried.

"I hadn't noticed any effects," student David Marshall said. "My teachers are still good, my classes are still good."

So the news is a victory for the faculty whose biggest concern they say, is their students.

"We work with them on a daily basis," Shepherd said. "Concerns that we raised were really about the future of the college."

Dr. Janice Gilliam also made a statement through TBR's report. It said in part:

"Continuous improvement in all areas of the college has been and will be a key focus. Regardless of how the message has been delivered, we appreciate the concern and suggestions."

TBR's investigation is still ongoing. The faculty senate will meet on Friday to talk about what's next.

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