Naughty or Nice?

What a year this has been across the globe.  

And in our little corner of it, GW’s administration has been very …

2020 has been full of shenanigans from the LeBlanc/Speights administration.  As a reminder of the year we’ve had:








AUGUST (brace yourself) 

  • The administration breaks the hiring freeze for the third time to hire Heather Swain as communications director.  Swain had recently helped MSU cover up its role in enabling Larry Nassar’s decades of childhood sexual abuse of gymnasts in his care.   



  • Grace Speights publicly berates SA President for daring to take a stand against the university president she is determined to shield from any criticism. GWUFA responds.
  • Provost Brian Blake introduces a new “Academic Master Plan,” short on specifics but long on horrifics.


  • Faculty Assembly Farce. Assembled faculty are told they are not officially at the meeting so cannot vote on a resolution to poll the faculty for a review of LeBlanc. Then we are told that the only way to change the rules to allow for an online vote would be to have a unanimous vote to make the change, which cannot happen because according to the rules of the Parliamentarian, no online voting can occur in a meeting where we are not actually present.  The Parliamentarian took offense at being questioned on the matter.


  • Blake announces his newest initiative:  a “Post-COVID Academic Innovation Task Force.” When asked by GWUFA how the committees would be formed for the task force and how the (delayed) Academic Master Plan might be envisioned as a more transparent process going forward, he replies in an email, “I stated that ‘development of an Academic Master Plan will be deferred, and is subject to adjustments, following further consultations with FSEC.’  The FSEC is working with me directly to determine a joint planning approach to do academic planning broadly with the greatest degree of transparency and shared governance. I appreciate their collaboration.”  Lots of hiding behind the Faculty Senate Executive Committee!

Despite the challenges, lots of nice things have happened too, thanks to the solidarity of faculty, students, and staff working towards the promise of a better GW.


  • 120 faculty sign a petition calling for LeBlanc’s resignation
  • The Editorial Board of the Hatchet demands that LeBlanc step down, writing that “LeBlanc’s plan for the future of the University and his past mistakes are out of touch with students and faculty.”


  • Concerned to stop the LeBlanc administration’s apparent attempts to use the quarantine to further erode shared governance and push through its misguided initiatives GWUFA begins a COVID-19 watch, gathering and sharing information across the university.


  • GWUFA and the Faculty Senate skip our usual summer recesses to keep an eye on the LeBlanc administration, Shining light on a creature that likes to strike in darkness.  We will never know what they would have done had the Senate and GWUFA not been keeping an eye on them.
  • Swain withdraws her acceptance of  the position of Vice President of Communication and Marketing after widespread, student-led outrage and condemnation.
  • The Washington Post and Washington City Paper run stories with questions about GW’s leadership.
  • GWUFA urges faculty, chairs, and deans to move from anger to actionFour hundred people attend a Faculty Association meeting and form Direct Action and Organizing committees. 
  • The 20/30 Plan is tabled.
  • GWUFA pens an open letter to students advocating better learning and working conditions for all of us.


  • LeBlanc’s planned 10% across-the-board and financially unnecessary pay cut for faculty and staff is leaked to GWUFA. GWUFA releases this information to the entire GW community before LeBlanc could message it.  The pay cut does not materialize. Our sources inside the administration tell us that the outrage faculty expressed made the administration take this drastic option off the table.
  • In response to threatened layoffs and pay cuts, staff at GW found the GW Staff Advocacy and Equity Coalition (GW SAEC), a successor organization to the GW Staff Association. 
  • Faculty pen an open letter called GWDeservesBetter, garnering over 300 faculty, staff, student, and alumni signatures.
  • More faculty initiate an independent initiative calling on the Faculty Senate to pursue a vote of No Confidence in President LeBlanc.  Nearly 200 faculty and staff sign. 
  • In response to the LeBlanc administration’s determination to have in-person instruction despite the pandemic, 589 faculty sign a petition demanding that the administration put safety first.



  • Over 600 faculty attempt to assert our voices at our phantom Faculty Assembly.


There’s naughty and there’s nice,

but the real story is that of people coming together

to stop something bad and, more importantly,

to create something and someplace good.

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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