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State Board stands behind embattled ISU President Vailas

The State Board of Education is standing behind embattled Idaho State University President Art Vailas, the Idaho State Journal reports today, while he remains deeply unpopular with some faculty members at the university in Pocatello. Board vice president Ken Edmunds said there are no immediate plans to replace Vailas. “We are letting him see through the changes that he saw fit for the university,” Edmunds told the State Journal. “We will then evaluate his performance after he has had the opportunity to carry out his vision.” Click below for a full report from the Associated Press.


Ed board stands behind embattled ISU president

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — The state Board of Education reiterated its support Thursday for Idaho State University president Arthur Vailas, who remains deeply unpopular with some faculty members.

Board vice president Ken Edmunds said there are no immediate plans to replace Vailas, who earlier this year faced mounting criticism and pressure from faculty on the Pocatello campus to step down.

Professors have said that Vailas made budget decisions in secrecy and took credit for achievements in meetings with the state board that should have gone to faculty.

Vailas also angered faculty last year when he stood behind provost Gary Olson, whose plan to restructure some departments on campus was met with outrage and prompted a separate no-confidence vote for Olson.

In February, the board sided with Vailas and voted to dissolve the ISU Faculty Senate.

The move prompted a national organization that represents university professors to sanction the school for what the group said are poor faculty governance practices.

The board stands by its decision to give Vailas a chance to take charge and make things work on the eastern Idaho campus, Edmunds told the Idaho State Journal.

“We are letting him see through the changes that he saw fit for the university,” Edmunds said. “We will then evaluate his performance after he has had the opportunity to carry out his vision.”

Some of Vailas' critics pounced on the opportunity to condemn his leadership at the board meeting, KIFI-TV reports.

“The faculty is working hard, but we don't have a university leader who is capable,” said biology professor David Delehanty, who serves as vice chair of a newly elected Faculty Senate.

The board in April gave the university permission to elect new, temporary faculty leaders. The temporary Senate has one year to adopt a new constitution and bylaws.

Vailas said Thursday that disagreements aren't uncommon on college campuses.

“There's always going to be disputes. It's probably a way of life in higher education,” Vailas said. “Despite disputes, everyone is focused on doing the right thing for the people of Idaho.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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