Chancellor to meet with USM president, faculty members say ‘no confidence’ vote is a ‘mandate’

A day after issuing a statement in response to a University of Southern Maine facultywide vote of ‘no confidence’ in school President Selma Botman, University of Maine System Chancellor James Page said today he plans to meet with the embattled USM president next week.

He also added that he’ll meet with the USM Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee, members of which helped circulate the petition that triggered the ‘no confidence’ vote, and others as he sets a goal of putting the pieces back together at USM.

(Click here, here, here, here and here for previous stories about the unrest and no confidence vote, provided by myself and USM Free Press News Editor Noah Hurowitz.)

Whether there’s room for reconciliation between the faculty members who are pushing for Botman’s dismissal and Botman herself remains to be seen. After the referendum results were announced late Wednesday, Botman issued a statement noting the vote “failed” because it was not passed by two-thirds of USM’s overall faculty.

Today, faculty members bristled at the idea that the referendum was a failure. Of the ballots cast over two days this week, 68 percent voted ‘no confidence’ in Botman, but because only about 75 percent of the faculty voted, the total fell short of the two-thirds threshold overall.

The vote was 194-88 in favor of the ‘no confidence’ notion, which physics professor and Faculty Senate Executive Committee member Jerry LaSala said in a statement today can hardly be considered a victory by Botman.

The following is a series of statements released in the aftermath of the vote by faculty members who circulated petitions and sought the referendum vote.

USM Physics Prof. Jerry LaSala (USM Free Press photo by Alex Greenlee)


President Botman’s claim that the vote is a win for her is yet again another indication of her inability to hear concerns and respond appropriately. There can be no ‘business as usual’ when the institution is in such a state of disrepair.

Luisa Deprez, former dean of Arts and Sciences and chair of the university’s recent regional accreditation committee:

This vote is an expression of deep concerns about the President’s lack of leadership and direction for, and commitment to the well-being of this highly respected, well-regarded institution.

Jeannine Uzzi, chairwoman of the Faculty Senate:

If this were a gubernatorial election, we’d say the winner had a resounding mandate. We had voter turnout of 75 percent. And of those, close to 70 percent voted no confidence in President Botman’s ability to lead this institution.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

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