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Opening meditation Open meeting – lack of privacy! Share what we know / how we got here Address fears and questions Discuss future plans (that can be shared)

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Presentation on theme: "Opening meditation Open meeting – lack of privacy! Share what we know / how we got here Address fears and questions Discuss future plans (that can be shared)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Opening meditation Open meeting – lack of privacy! Share what we know / how we got here Address fears and questions Discuss future plans (that can be shared) Gather personal email addresses Organize into constituent groups Leave meeting ALL on the same page – in SOLIDARITY! AGENDA

2 A series of unfortunate adventures Or Facts and Figures as we know them…

3 July 12, 2013 – The President discovers that the number of new students expected in the coming year was going to be much lower than projected – pointing to a budget shortfall. July 26, 2013 – The President meets with the Board of Trustees to tell them of the shortfall and of his plan to remedy the situation: An immediate 10% cut in salaries (across the board) A 10% cut in operations budgets A hiring freeze (not filling positions that were slated to be filled in 2013-14) Eliminating 2 FT faculty positions (4 faculty were brought to ½ time – The Board approved and Neal sent a letter to the community and called a meeting for August 1, 2013

4 October, 2013 – According to the Chair of the Finance Committee the President informs the Board about finances; the chair of the Finance Committee of the Board takes a leave of absence November 15, 2013 – The President informs his cabinet that there will be more cuts, later confirmed by the board, to be implemented this calendar year. In a meeting on December 6, the board affirmed that cuts would include: Eliminating the school’s 5% contribution to retirement Reducing the school’s contribution to Health Benefits Laying off 10 Staff and 5 Faculty Further cutbacks from the operations budgets

5 November 18, 2013 – The Core Faculty sends a 100% vote of “No Confidence” in the President to the Board November 21, 2013 – In response to repeated requests for a conversation, the Board sends Board Chair Peter Coughlan and Board Member Jacqueline Moore to interview Founder Bob Frager and Faculty Senate President Genie Palmer – They talk for 2.5 hours, and come away saying they have not learned anything they didn’t already know

6 November 22-23 The same 2 board members return to Sofia to interview the 5 VPs – Tracy Byars, Ryan Haylock, Maria Perry, Shawna Holbrook, and Paul Roy They talk for 3.5 hours and walk away saying that they have indeed learned new things

7 That evening, Peter Coughlan and Jacqueline Moore resigned from the Board

8 3 other board members, Bob Corrigan, Conni Lemen-Kosla, Bob Freelen resigned the next day The next day Jeff Keimer resigned About 1.5 weeks later Sofia Fregoso resigned

9 The 10 member board is down to 3 members. Rick Hesel, about 2 years on the Board, now Chair of the Board John Ringgenberg, voted onto the Board in October 2013 John Cha, voted onto the Board in October 2013

10 November 24 Board Chair Rick Hesel announces that Neal King “will resign his position effective December 31, 2013” After many requests for dialogue about how we might move forward, the Board agreed to meet with Tracy, Bob, Genie, and Paul

11 a Difficult meeting with Rick, John R., and Neal, with Brigitte taking minutes No dialogue No desire to receive our input No review of minutes No follow-up meeting, despite our requests December 6, 2013

12 December 6. 2013 – After the meeting, we wrote to ask for a copy of the budget that was approved by the Board – Rick said he and John would discuss it and get back to us by Tuesday, December 12 – They had also said they would get back to us about a follow-up meeting December 14, 2013 – We wrote asking again for the budget and another meeting – Rick responded that the budget was none of our business; said nothing about a follow-up meeting

13 What we were told: – “If we don’t make the cuts recommended by Neal, we will run out of money by March 2014” Peter Coughlan and Jacqueline Moore 11/22/13 – “No” – When asked if they had seen a line item budget for 2013-14 Peter Coughlan and Jacqueline Moore 11/22/13 – “We…realize that the window for key actions is a very narrow one that is closing quickly. The Board is likely in a position of needing to act both promptly and boldly to bring the institution back from the brink.” Richard Winn, VP, WASC in response to our request for help from WASC 12/14/13 – “The school is on the brink of insolvency: simply not true. – The school does not have funds to operate beyond spring 2014: simply not true.” Neal King – Commentary from Palo Alto 12/10/13 – “At this time, unfounded rumors are being created about the financial solvency and future direction of the university…” Board of Trustees, Sofia University 12/16/13

14 Our offer to the Board: Four people who know the school, who have been major donors, who are alumni of the school, and 3 of whom have been board members in the past (2 of them as Board Chair) have offered to serve on the Board to replace those who resigned in November

15 At least 6 major donors have indicated their willingness to donate money necessary to save the school The conditions for the above: Neal is no longer President The current Board votes the four new members on and then resign from the Board Our offer to the Board:

16 Our Concerns: – We have reason to believe that Neal and the Board have been considering having the school acquired by some other educational system – Should that be in the works for Sofia, it is possible that Neal would remain as President

17 Our Concerns (continued) – The Board does not communicate with us or give us any information – We are asked to be calm and restrained in taking any actions or perpetuating any “falsehoods” to the community that could have injurious impact – We are told that no one other than the Board and the President has the authority (or the responsibility) to address the issues we are all facing

18 Our Concerns (continued) – We have no idea what the board means when they say that they and the administration are “working in concert to address this shortfall and to balance the budget for the current fiscal year” except what the board told some of us: discontinue the school’s 5% contribution to retirement; decrease the amount the school pays for health benefits; lay off 10 staff and 5 faculty – The Board had no answer when we pointed out to them that the August 1 salary cut of a person earning $30,000 amounted to $1575, and that no board member has given that much in the last few years

19 Our Concerns (continued) – We have a Board with very little knowledge of the school, and an explicit disdain for our culture – The future of the school is being determined in secret by 3 people: Neal, Rick, and John R. (and possibly John Cha)

20 Our Concerns (continued) – The mission and values of Sofia, built on the mission and values of ITP, are not compatible with what we are hearing from Neal and the Board – We continue to be told to be quiet and well behaved (Neal closed the school today and sent a false cancellation announcement to prevent this meeting from happening)

21 But… Here we are…

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