New system chancellor reacts to faculty ‘no confidence’ vote in USM president

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page, who took office just more than a month ago, issued a statement last Wednesday night after news broke of the results of a two-day facultywide vote of ‘no confidence’ at the University of Southern Maine in the school’s president.

(For background in the form of previous stories on the issue, click here, here, here and here.)

University of Maine System Chancellor James Page (BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett)

As USM Free Press News Editor Noah Hurowitz reported Wednesday night, 75 percent of the USM faculty voted in the two day referendum and of those who did, 68 percent cast ballots of no confidence in President Selma Botman. Botman and her supporters noted, however, that in order for something to be considered “the will of the faculty,” two-thirds of all 377 USM faculty members must vote in favor of it.

There has been some disagreement over whether the threshold is two-thirds of all faculty members or two-thirds of those voting, but in the end, vote organizers on the Faculty Senate don’t plan on making any grand declarations about what the final tally means or doesn’t mean, Hurowitz reported. Ronald Schmidt of the Faculty Senate told the Free Press the faculty will pass the results up to Chancellor Page and the system board of trustees, and they can interpret them however they want.

Page released his immediate reaction late Wednesday night in the form of a statement, included here in its entirety:

The fact that this vote occurred is a matter we take very seriously, as it is a meaningful expression of the USM Faculty Senate’s sentiment. There are obviously a variety of opinions on how to advance the University of Southern Maine. Now that the vote is completed, I plan to engage with all of the parties involved to move USM forward in a unified way to serve our students and our state.

I’ve spoken to folks on both sides of this issue, and my impression is Page has everybody’s respect. I can’t think of anyone I’ve talked to on this subject who doesn’t regard Page as a down-to-earth and realistic problem solver. In a situation where he’ll probably have to find a middle ground that won’t make anyone extraordinarily happy, those skills will come in handy.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.