The GWU Faculty Association is pleased to circulate the Student Association Executive Order calling on President LeBlanc to resign and demanding genuine shared governance at GW.
As the Executive Order states, LeBlanc has exhausted the patience and good will of every faction of the GW community – faculty, staff, and students. So bad is the situation at GW that LeBlanc’s missteps are reported as the lead article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education.
We can no longer tolerate the LeBlanc administration’s unwarranted compensation cuts, layoffs, or unreliable, ever-changing financial projections.
Just yesterday, GWUFA learned about a new round of layoffs in Communications, affecting about 60 staff members. These colleagues are now required to reapply for a pool of about 30 positions. The LeBlanc administration continues to fire GW staff despite the updated enrollment numbers that make it ever more clear that such measures are unnecessary.
Stand with GW students, staff and faculty. Demand an end to LeBlanc’s disastrous vision for our university, heartless policies, authoritarianism, and funny money. Call on the Board of Trustees to fire LeBlanc and implement true shared governance at GW.
It is time to reclaim our university. GW deserves better.
No Confidence in University President Thomas LeBlanc
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To urge President LeBlanc’s removal and implement shared governance at every level.
EO-F20-01 [Content Warning: mention of sexual assault]
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and Bylaws of The George Washington University Student Association, it is hereby ordered:
- President LeBlanc must resign or be removed from his position immediately.
- President LeBlanc’s replacement must be chosen democratically by a selection committee that includes student, faculty, and staff representatives. This precludes a “task force” or “committee” that ostensibly has input but no decision-making power. All stakeholders must be involved in the replacement process from the very beginning.
- The Board of Trustees should have shared governance with students, faculty, and staff. This must include at least one seat on the Board of Trustees for each population that has full voting and governing privileges. These seats must be included in Executive Sessions.
- The case for President LeBlanc’s removal and an overhaul of the University’s governance is clear:
- President LeBlanc has failed in the goals he was hired for – increasing fundraising to improve the financial position of the University. While the size of the endowment remains large enough to weather the pandemic, the rate of alumni giving back to the University has remained at a peer institution-low of less than 10%. The only other university among our peer institutions that had their endowment shrink in fiscal year 2019 was the University of Miami, where President LeBlanc was formerly the Provost.
- President LeBlanc chose to hire Heather Swain during a “hiring freeze” and during a wave of layoffs, then offered no adequate explanation for why this decision was made when any reasonable person would have discovered her revolting background of covering up sexual assault for Larry Nassar.
- President LeBlanc has insisted on executing the “Strategic Plan” to cut enrollment and student financial aid. This will inevitably result in a student population that is higher-income and more white.
- In February 2020, President LeBlanc made a racist remark in a recorded conversation with two students, equating a majority agreement for divestment to killing all Black students.
- Up until days before some students began moving in, students, faculty, and staff were left in the dark about the University’s reopening plan, including many RAs who lost their housing three days before moving in.
- The University has laid off hundreds of employees, including some with decades of service to the University community. Not only is it unforgivable to strip them of their health insurance in a pandemic, but the layoffs are unnecessary due to the University’s endowment and $300 million line of credit. Other institutions have avoided layoffs by increasing the payout from their endowments.
- The University has suspended contributions to retirement funds, which constitutes a cut in compensation that is, again, unnecessary, unaccountable, and uncaring.
- The University has consistently ignored calls by the Faculty Senate, Faculty Association, Staff Advocacy and Equity Coalition, Student Association, and a multitude of student organizations who have urged the administration to correct their mistakes, and offered feasible alternatives to all of the decisions the administration has taken.
- The Department of Sociology, Department of Political Science, Department of American Studies, Department of Geography, Department of History, Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Chairs of Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Chairs and Associate Deans of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and alumni and faculty of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program have all expressed a profound lack of confidence in the administration’s actions.
- A democratic replacement process for President LeBlanc and shared governance in the Board of Trustees will improve transparency and empower students, faculty, and staff to forge a more equitable University.
Hereby enacted on the 21st of September, 2020.
Howard Brookins III, President of the Student Association