CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The faculty representative on the Marshall University Board of Governors said that it was a mistake for the board to release a letter of support for President Stephen Kopp immediately following a Faculty Senate vote of no confidence in Kopp.
Marty Amerikaner, the faculty representative and a professor of psychology, stressed that he did not want Kopp to be fired. But Amerikaner said he did not sign on to the Board of Governors' statement.
"By releasing that letter so quickly, it sent a message to the faculty of not being very open to, or not responsive to, the concerns that were being raised," Amerikaner said. "This was an expression of a lot of dismay and frustration; there's a need of new ways of doing business."
More than two-thirds of the faculty who voted recently said they had no confidence in Kopp. Dr. Joseph Touma, the Board of Governors chairman, released a statement immediately after Wednesday's faculty announcement expressing "overwhelming support" for Kopp.
The brouhaha stems from moves Kopp made to try to address funding cuts passed down from the Legislature and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
The state budget for the fiscal year beginning in July contains cuts of nearly 9 percent for all of the state's colleges and universities. For Marshall, that will mean about $5 million less in state funding next year.
Last month, Kopp swept the money in most of the university's departmental accounts into one central account. The move was in preparation for a plan to institute a more centralized budgeting process, but it was done overnight without notifying the faculty.
Following faculty outrage, Kopp quickly apologized and returned the funds. Changes to the budgeting process have been put on hold.
"That went over like a lead balloon," said Matt Turner, Kopp's chief of staff.
Oshel Craigo, a member of the Board of Governors, said that Kopp's centralized budget proposal was probably dead, a victim of poor communication.