Kendall College greets interim president with no-confidence vote


Oliver Evans. Courtesy Kendall College of Art and Design

The faculty and senate at Kendall College of Art and Design don’t have confidence in the interim president.

No confidence

The Kendall College of Art and Design College Senate and the Kendall Faculty Association issued a joint statement yesterday highlighting several actions: a vote of no confidence for Oliver Evans, incoming interim president, and Sandra Davison-Wilson, vice president of administration and finance; and a vote of confidence for M. Victoria Liptak, interim dean, to maintain key leadership at Kendall until a president is found.

The two groups said they collaborated in a special meeting and through respective procedures to reach the decisions in an effort to continue the momentum of the institution.

The move comes after David Rosen, the former president of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, resigned last week.

The Faculty Association and the College Senate said the no-confidence vote on Evans is due to their not wanting to follow the same path the college followed during his last 18-year tenure as president. 

The Kendall Faculty Association represents the faculty at the college and is affiliated with the Michigan Education Association and the National Educational Association.

The college senate at Kendall College is a governing body responsible for proposing, recommending and advancing issues to the administration in areas of institutional and academic effectiveness.

FSU support

Ferris State University and its Board of Trustees released a statement today in response to the no-confidence vote.

Marc Sheehan, a Ferris State University spokesperson, said it's his understanding the groups’ joint statement is symbolic and more an expression of feeling on the part of the faculty.

“In terms of actual weight behind them, it’s more of an expression of sentiment,” Sheehan said. “One of the things I was a little surprised at in terms of the vote by the Kendall faculty was taking a vote of no confidence against Oliver before he had even been in the office yet. This is somebody, who under his leadership, the enrollment tripled at Kendall. . . . It’s extraordinarily difficult for me to see the basis of the no-confidence vote.”

Gary Granger, chairman of the Ferris State Board of Trustees, and David Eisler, president at Ferris State University, expressed strong support for Evans as interim president and Davison-Wilson as vice president for administration and finance at Kendall College.

FSU said that the board and university administration worked through strategic plans for the growth of the college and are fully aware of the hard work and contributions Evans and Davison-Wilson have made to Kendall College.

The university noted several projects Evans and Davison-Wilson facilitated during their tenures: housing at The Lofts @ 5 Lyon, renovation of the current Woodbridge N. Ferris Building and the relationship with the ArtPrize competition.

“I think there will have to be communication among everybody,” Sheehan said. “What I think is sort of the common ground is I think everybody has the best wishes for Kendall at heart. Now there may be difference in how people see what is the best way to get there.”

Sheehan said Ferris strongly supports Evans and Davison-Wilson, and Kendall is going to continue to move forward.

“There will be conversations, and I think, ultimately, certainly my hope is that people will see that Oliver is an outstanding choice to be interim president,” Sheehan said. “And we look forward to mounting a search for a new president.” 

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