ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Faculty at Hardin-Simmons University are citing several reasons behind a vote of no confidence issued against President Eric Bruntmyer, including decreased enrollment, a lack of financial transparency, and an ongoing lawsuit from McMurry University.
Faculty Vice President Professor Melissa Milliorn detailed what happened during the vote of no confidence, which took place during a meeting of full time faculty October 26.
Milliorn says a majority faculty were present during the vote, which is in accordance with bylaws to hold a valid vote. She also said that faculty was unaware of an upcoming meeting that University Communications Specialist Mary Burke told KTAB and KRBC would be taking place soon to discuss the vote.
In a lengthy statement, Milliorn outlined faculty grievances against President Eric Bruntmyer, which are listed in full below:
i. A recent survey of the faculty, results of which were shared with the university’s Board of Trustees as well as the president earlier in October, revealed an overwhelming majority of faculty are dissatisfied with the president’s performance in multiple areas as well as a devastated faculty morale;
ii. Financial and leadership concerns include a sharp decline in enrollment during Bruntmyer’s time in office (25% from 2,252 in 2017 to 1,765 in 2022) in addition to a lack of drop in expenditures despite steep program and faculty cuts and failure to raise funds;
iii. Consistent failure to establish, engage in, or develop shared governance as required by accreditation;
iv. Unanswered questions regarding reallocating endowment funds;
v. Breakdown of recent negotiations for the purchase of the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing resulting in a lawsuit from McMurry University; and
vi. Poor handling of the development and implementation of a University Statement of Faith, including Baptist faculty outcry against the required signature of a Confession of Faith;
vii. Over 50 faculty have either been cut or left HSU over the last six years, and more indicate they either intend to leave or are currently seeking employment elsewhere.
There have been several major changes during President Bruntmyer’s tenure at the university, including the closing of Logson Seminary School and several other programs, as well as the loss of support from the Sandefer family and other long-term donors.
KTAB and KRBC will continue to follow developments with Hardin-Simmons University and the vote of ‘no confidence’ against President Bruntmyer. Check back for any additional information.