Tuesday, January 13, the undergraduate student government association at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will consider a vote of no confidence in the school’s president, Ray Watts. They have published a digital copy of a report prepared in advance of the vote outlining why it may take place. It is the first of two votes to be held this week following concerns about how he handled the decision leading to the discontinuation of the university’s bowling, football, and rifle teams in December. Many are assuming those votes will lead his resignation or removal. (The Faculty Senate is currently scheduled to take up potential votes on proposed resolutions this Thursday, January 15.)
Last week the Birmingham Business Journal referenced a 2008 paper published by the Ohio State University focusing on the issue of no confidence votes. Its author, Sean McKinniss, still maintains a database of known votes that have taken place across the country. A review of the data from earlier this month showed at least fourteen (14) such votes were taken during 2014. (NOTE: there are now at least twenty (20) entries for the previous calendar year.) While many of those votes led to eventual resignations, some — like one held in September to voice concerns about University of West Florida president Judy Bense — led to the board of trustees passing a resolution to continues to serve in the position.
Watts has said he has no intention to resign from his post — even if both the student government association and the UAB Faculty Senate pass their proposed resolutions. Reports suggest the faculty senate could approve their no-confidence vote during Thursday’s meeting. It is set to host a bi-monthly Q & A session with Watts as part of its regularly scheduled meeting tomorrow.