Business school faculty ask administrators to ‘put on hold’ recent financial decisions

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The letter, which was addressed to LeBlanc, also raised concerns about a "lack of transparency" from administrators that "erodes" trust between administrators, faculty and staff.

Nearly 50 School of Business faculty signed a letter calling on administrators to “put on hold” recent decisions in response to the pandemic, including recent layoffs and benefit reductions.

The signatories, which include all members of the Faculty Senate from the business school, raised concerns about weathering GW’s financial situation by implementing “broad-based” layoffs and “harmful” long-term decisions. The faculty asked University President Thomas LeBlanc to “entertain all alternatives” and share them and all “decision-relevant” information with faculty.

“It is crucial, however, that we make decisions that will not compromise our mission to increase knowledge through research and educate students,” the faculty said. “The administration’s current approach to the crisis appears to be fundamentally flawed.”

A University spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

The letter, which was addressed to LeBlanc, also raised concerns about a “lack of transparency” from administrators that “erodes” trust between administrators, faculty and staff, referencing LeBlanc’s strategic initiative to improve institutional culture.

“Our impression now is that you meet with faculty, appear to listen to them, but provide limited information and never take any of the suggestions offered,” the letter states. “This does not constitute meaningful participation from the faculty and staff and again does not promote positive cultural change.”

GW partnered with the Disney Institute to assist officials in implementing an employee culture survey and culture trainings for all faculty and staff. The partnership has drawn criticism from many faculty.

The faculty also criticized administrators’ decision to consolidate GW’s technology offices, adding that the existing decentralized model is “much more appropriate” because various schools have “different” IT needs. Faculty also raised concerns with centralizing technology services under the purview of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark Diaz rather than under Provost Brian Blake.

“This is simply bad governance since making decisions that directly affect research and teaching should be the purview of the provost,” the letter states. “We believe that the CFO, who was not vetted by the faculty when he was hired and does not report to the faculty, should not engage in operations that affect the quality of research and teaching.”

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