The Faculty Senate at the University of New Orleans passed a unanimous vote of no confidence Wednesday in the school’s vice president for business affairs, Gregg Lassen, whom many faculty members expect to be named the school’s interim president.
The resolution, which passed 30-0, said Lassen has been unable to provide “viable strategies for dealing effectively with UNO’s budgetary struggles” and accused him of demonstrating “troubling signs of disengagement.”
Lassen has been at UNO since 2013. Previously, he served as vice president for finance and operations at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and held several administrative posts at the University of Texas at Tyler. His time in Tyler overlapped with that of outgoing UNO President Peter Fos, who served as provost and executive vice president there before arriving in New Orleans.
Fos plans to retire in January after completing his fourth year at UNO’s helm, a tenure during which he has worked to shrink an institution assailed by funding cuts and declining enrollment.
The Faculty Senate’s vote came a day ahead of a meeting of the board of supervisors for the University of Louisiana system. The board is scheduled to consider nominations to replace the outgoing president of the UL system, Sandra Woodley, on an interim basis.
Woodley, who has led the nine-university system since 2013, announced last month that she will step down from that post early next year.
In October, the UL board appointed Randy Moffett as UNO’s interim president. Moffett, who retired as president of the UL system in 2012, was slated to assume his interim role at the beginning of 2016.
However, the rumor among UNO faculty is that Moffett may instead be tapped to once again lead the UL system on an interim basis, with Lassen instead taking the helm of UNO until a permanent president is named.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Woodley declined to comment on the Faculty Senate’s vote or the potential shuffling of interim positions. UNO spokesman Adam Norris also declined to comment.
Neither Lassen nor Moffett responded to inquiries.
A search committee has been looking for a long-term replacement for Fos since the fall. That committee had been scheduled to meet Thursday, but the session was postponed in order “to allow the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer additional time to identify quality applicants for the position,” UL system spokeswoman Cami Geisman said last week.
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.