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Thursday, May 06, 2021

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UR faculty pass motion of no confidence in Paul Queally, request resignation from Board of Trustees

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Editor's Note: This is a developing story.

University of Richmond faculty members passed a motion of no confidence in Rector Paul Queally and called for his resignation from the Board of Trustees, according to an April 12 statement obtained by the Collegian. 

The motion passed with 306 persons voting “yes,” 32 voting “no,” and 14 abstaining, according to the statement. Of the eligible 427 voting faculty members, 352 participated in the voting, according to the statement. 

A resolution of no confidence in Paul Queally included in a faculty statement obtained by The Collegian.

“It has become clear that [Queally’s] leadership imperils the ability of the University to move forward in serving our students, furthering our educational mission, and expanding our stature in the higher education community,” according to a resolution written by faculty that was attached to the statement. 

Faculty members introduced the motion during an April 9 faculty meeting. The motion was prompted by Queally’s conduct with UR community members in conversations about student demands for the Board to remove the names of Robert Ryland and Douglas Southall Freeman from campus buildings, which originated in a 2019 joint-resolution by the Westhampton College Government Association and Richmond College Student Government Association, the resolution read.  

The resolution cited Queally’s refusal to engage with students and faculty during March 26 Board meetings about the March 17 statement when the Board decided to not change the building names, which faculty members wrote is inconsistent with the values of open debate, mutual respect and ethical guidelines created by the Association of Governing Boards

Along with his refusal to engage, “Queally interrupted the only African-American representative from the senators and staff at the meeting and made comments discrediting her experience, knowledge, and perspective,” the resolution read. 

Queally also referred to “Black, Brown and ‘regular students’” during the meeting, which faculty wrote created an unequal status for students of color. 

The Faculty Senate voted unanimously on April 2 to censure Queally for his conduct, and faculty wrote in the April 12 statement that the Board “claimed that such derogatory comments are acceptable in the course of a ‘candid and passionate’ conversation.” The Board has not directly acknowledged Queally’s comments nor apologized. 

Board of Trustees Statement April 5

The Board of Trustees statement sent to the University Faculty Senate on April 5. The statement was shared with students, faculty and staff later that afternoon. 

Faculty will call for the Board and the Trusteeship Committee to examine Queally’s behaviors and decisions if Queally refuses to resign. The examination is to determine if he should be removed from the Board in accordance with Article 1.4(c) of the UR's Amended and Restated Bylaws

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“These results clearly show that the university faculty have lost confidence in the ability of Rector Queally to lead the university community effectively in this challenging and important moment in our institutional history,” according to Faculty Senate President Thad Williamson, professor of leadership studies and politics, philosophy, economics and law. “As the voice of the faculty, the Faculty Senate respectfully requests that the Board of Trustees take this result and this message about the urgent need for change seriously; this vote is clear indication that something has gone seriously awry and needs to be addressed, for the good of the entire campus community.”

The results of the no confidence motion come on the same day that the Board sent an email to the UR community about the creation of a commission to establish the principles of renaming Ryland and Mitchell-Freeman halls. The Board suspended its decision regarding the renaming of the buildings on April 5, according to an email sent out to the UR community. 

Contact news co-editor Westen Doran at westen.doran@richmond.edu.

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