PORTLAND — Senior faculty members at the University of Southern Maine are seeking a no-confidence vote targeting President Selma Botman.

Several longtime, full-time faculty members have circulated a petition and gathered about 50 signatures asking the faculty senate to hold a no-confidence referendum among USM’s faculty, said Jerry LaSala, a petition organizer and physics professor who has taught at USM for 25 years.

LaSala said the petition will be presented to senate leadership on Wednesday with the hope that the body will call for a referendum when it meets on Friday. The group needed 35 signatures – 10 percent of USM’s 345 faculty members – to force a referendum, he said.

Faculty started circulating the petition last week, LaSala said, after The Portland Press Herald reported that Botman recently gave big raises to two of her senior staffers. Meanwhile, faculty and other university employees have been working without contracts since July and gone without cost-of-living raises for three years.

However, faculty discontent has been brewing for months over what LaSala described as Botman’s ineffective leadership through a recent administrative reorganization, declining enrollment and significant reductions in classroom spending.

Botman, who has since rescinded the raises, said she understands that faculty members are frustrated, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Botman has been president of USM for nearly four years.

 

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