USM Faculty Discuss Controversy Over President Fleming

43 members of the USM Faculty Senate emerged from a three-hour executive session with a resolution, showing support for Dr. Horace Fleming. Faculty Senate President Susan Hubble says the group wants to make it clear, that the Faculty of the University strongly advocates the renewal of Dr. Fleming's four-year contract and his retention as President of the University.

The resolution calls Fleming, a forceful advocate for the University. Hubble pointed out that Fleming has inaugurated a $100 million capital fund campaign, a goal 12 times as large as any previous campaign by the University.

Senate members also say Fleming has championed the expansion of USM Gulf Park. They say his leadership is especially needed now, since the Community College Board has a lawsuit pending, to block plans to add Freshmen and Sophomore classes to the Long Beach campus.

Faculty Senate Secretary, Dr. Darlys Alford, says she expects a ruling on the lawsuit to come down in the next six months. She says there will be a conclusion to the case, which means there will be dramatic changes coming. Alford says if there is a change in Presidents, there will be a lot of instability that will jeopardize the progress of the development on the Coast.

Faculty Senate member Dr. Pat Smith says Fleming had the guts to take up the struggle to expand USM-Gulf Park, that's why the faculty on the Coast is 100% behind Fleming. Smith also says he's proud that the whole University Faculty has voted to show strong support for his renewal.

Over the weekend, the USM Foundation also passed a resolution supporting Dr. Fleming. Other university organizations are also expected to take up the Dr. Fleming debate. On Wednesday morning, the Staff Council could decide whether to take a stand on the issue. And early next week, the Student Government Association plans to state its position on whether Dr. Fleming should be allowed to stay on the job.

Dr. Fleming will have his performance review with the state College Board on July 19th. Fleming says he will not comment on the controversy surrounding the issue, until after the review.

By: Trang Pham-Bui