“It never occurred to me…”

so over it

remark made by Thomas LeBlanc at April 23 CCAS Faculty Meeting,
with regard to faculty expectations of shared governance

The results of the Faculty Senate survey cannot be any clearer.

  • 89% of faculty condemned LeBlanc’s integrity/ethics
  • 85% expressed negative views of LeBlanc’s competence/execution
  • 85% expressed a lack of trust in his leadership
  • 84% expressed negative views of the transparency of LeBlanc’s administration 

LeBlanc’s contempt for our needs and perspectives has generated a destructive climate for GW faculty, staff, and students during this already difficult period.

It never occurred to him to ask how we’re doing.

GWUFA asked, and you told us that LeBlanc’s corporatist attitude has been devastating to our mental health:   

  • 83% of faculty report that their mental health is worse than average this year
  • 80% say it’s more difficult to take care of their own mental health this year
  • 94% report that student mental health is worse this year (and no one says it’s better, the remaining respondents say it’s about the same)
  • 69% identified personal expectations for workload among their top stressors for this year. 

It never occurred to him to ask about our working conditions.

GWUFA asked, and you told us that you continued to work in insecure environments:

  • 57% of faculty cared for children ages K-12 and/or children home from college while teaching online
  • 31% cared for spouses, parents, or relatives needing extra support during the pandemic
  • 30% have themselves fallen ill (with covid or other illnesses) this year
  • 51% worked in shared spaces (including bedrooms, kitchens, couches)
  • 8% worked in closets or cars

Faculty are nearing a breaking point. We have no information on what the Fall semester will look like, nor how we will be compensated for the countless hours we spent—often in bedrooms, converted closets, or even in our cars—to keep the university afloat this year. 



These results underscore what we have known all along:  We care more deeply about the daily needs of our students and colleagues than our administration does. We are committed to student well-being, and we have prioritized our work even as we have cared for the health of our families and friends. 

If it never occurred to him that…

  • faculty morale matters
  • student needs matter
  • and the university should run like the mission-driven, non-profit institution it is, not like a profit-hungry corporation

then

President LeBlanc is unsuited to continue as president of The George Washington University. 

The Board of Trustees is currently conducting a review of President LeBlanc’s first term. 

But this review is illegitimate. Former GW Board president Nelson Carbonell, who hired LeBlanc, serves on the board of AGB, the supposedly independent, third-party firm charged with conducting the review. 

Only a Board that openly dismisses the norms, ethics, and values of shared governance would maintain such a president.

We demand, in the name of shared governance and with the well-being of GW at heart, that:

  • LEBLANC’S CONTRACT NOT BE RENEWED
  • his chosen enablers be replaced
  • THE BOARD LEADERSHIP THAT BROUGHT US THIS PRESIDENT AND THEN STOOD BY HIS MULTIPLE, EGREGIOUS ACTS change course to uphold the fundamental principle of shared governance

GWUFA has kept an eye on this administration in 2020-21, and we close the academic year with this reminder that WE—students, faculty, and staff—ARE the university.  We can and must hold our administrators to high standards and make this the university we want it to be.

In solidarity and the joy of collaborative struggle,
The GWU Faculty Association

Published by GWUFA

GWUFA is a grass-roots, faculty-run organization and has no official relation to the university administration or the Faculty Senate.

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