Campus Reform | Faculty votes ‘no confidence’ in administration over plans for more in-person instruction

Faculty votes ‘no confidence’ in administration over plans for more in-person instruction

Faculty and librarians at the Wentworth Institute of Technology held a vote of “no confidence” in President Mark Thompson and the Wentworth administration.

The vote comes as the university is reportedly planning to add more in-person classes for the spring semester.

Faculty members at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts held a vote of no-confidence in the school's president and administration because they anticipate they will have more in-person teaching responsibilities in the spring semester.

A November 23 press release from the Wentworth Faculty Federation, a union that representss faculty members and librarians from the university, stated that Wentworth is unwilling “to address COVID-19 safety concerns and grant reasonable accommodations to high-risk individuals and caregivers.” 

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According to the press release. the private technical design and engineering university in plans to offer more in-person classes during the spring 2021 semester. 

“While many universities have announced that they will continue remote teaching in the spring, Wentworth is continuing to require faculty to teach in person during the Spring 2021 semester and increasing the time required to be spent in person. Faculty say this policy forces them to put their health at unnecessary risk and puts extreme pressure on parents and caregivers, especially women, who are juggling caregiving responsibilities with their work," the release states.

Of the 80 percent of faculty members and librarians who participated in the vote, 95 percent voted in favor.

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In the vote of no-confidence, the federation requested that "faculty in-person teaching for Spring 2021 be entirely voluntary."

Wentworth Faculty Federation President and Professor Greg Sirokman said in the press release that members of the campus community are at risk to contract the coronavirus.

“As COVID-19 rages out of control, Wentworth faculty and librarians are working tirelessly to continue to teach and support our students, delivering content in ways many of us haven’t done before. But many members of our campus community are at increased risk of severe illness if they are exposed to COVID-19, and many are fulfilling their professional duties while also managing childcare responsibilities or caring for an aging parent," Sirokman said.

As of December 9, Wentworth was at Alert Level Yellow: “Yellow-level status acknowledges the presence of the COVID-19 virus, the ongoing pandemic, and a “new normal” of campus operations. There is a reduced COVID-19 transmission risk on campus due to effective mitigation strategies and/or minimal campus spread," according to the university's website.

Campus Reform reached out to Sirokman and Wentworth for further comment; however, a reply was not received in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan