Posted: 5/5/2006

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May 5, 2006

Contact: Steve Abbott, President, Columbus State Education Association


The Columbus State Education Association (CSEA), which represents the community college's 260 full-time faculty, has begun conducting balloting on a vote of no confidence in President Dr. Valeriana Moeller.

Ballots were mailed to all full-time employees May 3 by an independent accounting firm retained by the Association. The firm will independently tally responses and validate the results. Faculty results will be reported separately from other employees.

CSEA President Steve Abbott said that the President's failure to address serious institutional problems has eroded the trust and commitment among many College employees.

"The President has failed to deal with internal decision-making processes, employee morale, shared governance, and adequate staffing, including significant issues left over from Columbus State's last accreditation report by the North Central Association," Abbott said.

According to CSEA, the College is showing serious internal strains brought on by the President's disregard for, and neglect of, institutional and employee needs. This has resulted in widespread dissatisfaction among employees and has begun to affect operation of the institution.

Abbott said that, despite the recommendations of its accrediting body in 2000, the college has not improved its ratio of 30% full-time to 70% part-time faculty, and the governance structure imposed by Dr. Moeller in 2002 addresses only issues that are approved by her. He said the governance structure has also taken away any meaningful action on concerns of the College's over 700 adjunct faculty.


The Association cited other reasons that faculty believe a no-confidence vote by all employees was called for:

  • Under Dr. Moeller, Columbus State became one of the few state colleges not to have a representative faculty body such as a faculty senate.
  • The President allowed a consultant to exclude faculty from research and discussion that formed the feasibility study resulting in plans to develop a second campus. In addition, the contracting process for the feasibility study had serious conflict-of-interest questions that the President has never explained.
  • Unresponsive leadership since the President arrived in 1996 led to formation of a faculty union and two staff unions representing the College's Public Safety and Physical Plant employees.
  • The College incurred millions of dollars in additional costs to retrofit a new computer system whose adoption was questioned by its own Computer Science faculty and professional technology staff.
  • The President's spokesmen have consistently and intentionally misrepresented information to the community and to other College employees, eroding the credibility of the entire administration.
  • During a period of growth in enrollment, department chairs received little additional administrative or clerical support. When faculty withdrew from voluntary leadership and coordinating roles, the President did not provide support for managers to assure that programs of study would maintain their levels of quality and service.
  • In 2005 staff suffered a net loss in real wages when they received only minimal pay increases and were forced to absorb all increased health care costs while the College reduced its own health insurance costs. At the same time, the College increased student tuition while adding millions of dollars to its cash reserves.
  • The President has taken no action to address issues even after faculty, staff, and students have addressed the College's Board of Trustees repeatedly at its meetings over the past year to express concern over management of the 21,000-student institution and widespread low morale among employees.
  • Full-time faculty and managerial positions go unfilled for long periods even when the College has notice of upcoming retirements.

Abbott said, "Morale is a leadership responsibility, yet the President has refused to face the serious internal problems that have demoralized many of the College's committed, long-time employees. Columbus State's administration seems unwilling or unable to address any issue that can't be quantified."

He called the no-confidence vote "unfortunate but necessary" because employees' petitions for the administration and the Board of Trustees to address management issues have produced no action.

"The necessity of this vote reflects a loss of faith in the College's leadership," Abbott said.

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