Faculty members call for ouster of UMPI president


PRESQUE ISLE (AP) – Faculty members at the University of Maine at Presque Isle have asked for the removal of university President Karl Burgher following a vote of no-confidence.

In a three-page letter to University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph Westphal, the Faculty Assembly said Burgher has lost respect within the university and Presque Isle communities, has poor communication skills and has violated protocol and procedures.

The letter was written following a meeting at which faculty members voted 39-0 with one abstention to seek Burgher’s removal. In the letter, faculty members cited 14 problems they allege have occurred since Burgher took the job 10 months ago. Burgher won’t attend university Senate meetings, refuses to join local civic groups and won’t meet with faculty members, the letter says.

In one instance, Burgher ignored an alleged incident where student athletes on a road trip hired a stripper to visit them at a hotel, the letter says.

Faculty members are waiting for a response from Westphal, said Kim Ann Perkins, president of the Faculty Assembly.

Burgher declined to comment, but in a response to the letter to Westphal he wrote that he is confident the issues can be resolved. “There are times in higher education when faculty and administration disagree on leadership and vision,” Burgher wrote. “This occurred here, and I am working with the faculty and the chancellor to resolve these issues.”

Westphal has received the faculty letter and will be discussing it with Burgher and faculty members in the near future, said John Diamond, spokesman for the university system.

Burgher previously worked at Fairmont State University in West Virginia. He was hired from among 48 candidates after a months-long search.

Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangornews.com