During a three-day balloting period that began Wednesday and ends Friday, Howard University’s full-time faculty will decide whether or not embattled university President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick and other top leaders at the school get a “no confidence’ vote.
This comes in the midst of a student takeover of the administration building that is entering its second week. Hundreds of students began occupying the building last week after learning, via a statement issued by Frederick, that six university employees were fired last year following a two-year investigation into misappropriation of money in the student financial aid office over a nine-year period.
The voting, which concludes Friday afternoon, came after faculty leaders voted by a large margin Monday “to express their lack of confidence in Frederick and other administrators,” the Washington Post reported.
The referendum is nonbinding but could influence the board of trustees, which has been meeting and negotiating with leaders of the student movement called “HU Resist.”
Students have taken over the administration building on various occasions over the years to protest a range of issues, most famously 50 years ago around this same time. But this takeover is the longest, with hundreds of students participating.
Among students’ numerous demands are the departure of Frederick, greater transparency in terms of school finances, enhanced policies relative to sexual assault, improvements regarding university housing and more student input in decision-making at the school.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported, the faculty’s elected representative body, the Faculty Senate, “voted overwhelmingly…that they no longer had confidence in Frederick, Provost Anthony K. Wutoh, Chief Operating Officer Tashni-Ann Dubroy and members of the executive committee of the school’s Board of Trustees.”
Last year, the same body voted no confidence in Frederick. This time around, the Post reports, Frederick “has received a letter of support from the university’s Council of Deans, which represents leaders of Howard’s schools and colleges. The group wrote that it is ‘confident that the plans, strategies, programs and activities of the university Board of Trustees and President Wayne A.I. Frederick are yielding positive results and are on a positive trajectory for a strong and positive future for our beloved institution.’”