ITTA BENA, Miss.
Mississippi Valley State University President Lester C. Newman has appointed a new committee to bring members of the faculty and administration together.
Newman was the target of “no confidence” vote this week by the school’s Faculty Senate.
Faculty members contacted by The Associated Press said the “no confidence” vote dealt with concerns that included problems with the proper chain of command, pay scale and a lack of professional courtesy.
Newman announced the creation of the committee and other steps in a column released to news media outlets on Saturday. Newman’s office said the column had been submitted for publication in Sunday’s edition of the Greenwood Commonwealth.
Mississippi Valley State is located in Itta Bena, about 10 miles west of Greenwood in the Mississippi Delta.
Newman, an alumnus of Southern University in Baton Rouge, became Mississippi Valley State’s fifth president in 1998. He succeeded William Sutton, who served as president for 10 years. Newman came to Valley from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C.
Valley is one of three historically Black universities in Mississippi the others are Jackson State and Alcorn State. There about 3,100 students on the Itta Bena campus.
Newman said in the column that he rejected some faculty members felt it was necessary to bring forward a vote of “no confidence.”
“While my No. 1 commitment is to see that our students receive the best education possible, I am equally committed to ensuring that the entire MVSU family has a quality working and learning environment.
“I am resolved and committed to reconcile the differences perceived by these faculty members,” Newman said.
Newman said he had sent a letter to faculty members on Friday, outlining the creation of a committee comprised of the interim vice president for academic affairs, the provost and 10 faculty members to address faculty issues. He said he hoped the committee would have recommendations to him in 15 days.
Newman said he also created a Presidents Council, comprised of the presidents of the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Student Government Association and which meet monthly with the executive staff and himself to discuss issues and policies.
After spring break on March 12-16, Newman said he will hold a series of round-table discussions with faculty members to hear their concerns.
“I take full responsibility to see that these concerns are corrected,” Newman said.
— Associated Press
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