RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Calls for the Head Trustee at the University of Richmond to resign are growing louder. Faculty members voted and a majority have ‘no confidence’ in his ability to lead the institution.
In the landslide vote, nearly 87% of faculty members want Paul Queally, the Rector of the board, to step down telling 8News it symbolizes change and they support the cultural movement that’s fueled by students.
The movement began with the controversy to change the names of Ryland and Mitchell-Freeman Halls, which are currently named after a slave owner and segregationist. The battle is still ongoing to change the names. Just this week, the Board of Trustees announced that it was forming a commission to help decide how to move forward, which will include more input.
In the midst of this, there’s a new call to action. Faculty members want Queally to resign.
“Queally needs to step down period,” said Jane Berry, a professor of more than thirty years at the university.
Queally is a graduate of the University, served on the Board of Trustees in the past, and is Rector until next year, but not without controversy.
On March 26, during a meeting to discuss the building names, faculty members reported that Queally referred to students as “black, brown and regular students”.
“It’s horrendous and despicable,” said Berry. “The implication that brown and black students are irregular.”
Eric Anthony Grollman, professor of sociology at UR, says it’s time to move in another direction.
“We are using our voice as faculty to remove Paul Queally because of his gross behavior of abusing black women staff and being hostile towards our black student leaders,” said Grollman.”He has no place on our campus anymore.”
In the same meeting, Jessica Washington, a black staff member claims she was singled out and belittled. Washington told 8News it was the, ‘single most horrific and traumatizing work experience’.
The University responded to both claims in a letter stating:
“The Trustees in attendance at those meetings strongly disagree with the characterization of Rector Paul Queally’s words, tone, and intent. The conversations were candid and passionate but in the spirit of mutual respect. We are saddened, but hear clearly, that some parties interpreted certain comments as disrespectful.”
Faculty members started a petition calling for the Rector’s resignation, which received 154 signatures. That is enough for the university’s Faculty Senate to lead a motion of ‘no confidence’ and allow faculty to vote.
The results showed a majority want Queally out.
“The motion has passed, with 86.93% (306 persons) voting “yes”, 9.09% (32 persons) voting “no,” and 3.98% (14 persons) voting to abstain. A total of 352 persons voted, 82.24% of the eligible voters.”
Faculty Senate President, Thad Williamson, told 8News it’s like a family feud because board members and faculty know each other, but it’s time for inclusion.
“I think the issue is the board at present isn’t terribly diverse,” said Williamson “I think there’s a disconnect that has grown between the board’s perspective at the university and the perspective of the people.”
Grollman told 8News there are 24 board members and of them, two are minorities. Now that the ‘no confidence’ vote is endorsed, it’s still up to the Board of Trustees. Queally can step down on his own, the board could oust him, or the board could do nothing.
The university declined an interview with Queally.