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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU faculty call for new president, administration

Enrollment, athletics concerns bring hundreds of faculty members to argue against administration
WSU+President+Kirk+Schulz+explaining+the+financial+plan+to+hire+a+new+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+coach+during+a+WSU+regents+special+meeting+on+March+28+in+the+French+Administration+building.
STEPHEN MURNANE | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
WSU President Kirk Schulz explaining the financial plan to hire a new men’s basketball coach during a WSU regents special meeting on March 28 in the French Administration building.

Hundreds of WSU faculty members issued a press release Wednesday morning arguing for new leadership, including a new president, administration and board of regents. 

The group is concerned about the 16% decrease in enrollment numbers since President Kirk Schulz took his position in 2016, according to the press release posted by Pullman Radio News.

Enrollment throughout the entire WSU system is down 12% since 2016 as well, hitting its lowest in 14 years, according to the press release. 

Alongside enrollment concerns, the faculty members noted the U.S. News and World Reports national ranking for WSU dropped 38 points since Schulz began his role, according to the press release.

Faculty members also noted that the “Drive to 25” campaign, initiated by Schulz when hired to make WSU a top 25 university by 2030, was not achieved, according to the press release. 

Leadership in athletics is a concern for the faculty members as well; WSU has suffered financial harm because of the lack of leadership in the athletics department and it should not have been shocking when the Pac-12 Conference split, according to the press release. 

The group of faculty members did not agree with the decision when Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton oversaw the athletics department in 2022 and 2023 while Schulz moved to his role as systemwide present, according to the press release. 

Schulz is now overseeing athletics again, but the group believes the two-year change left administrators with less knowledge of the department, according to the press release. 

The faculty members are concerned about the president’s decision to move his office to downtown Pullman, as well as his move to a home in Tri-Cities because of the cost, alongside the decision to create the Chancellor position because it was unclear of the decision behind it, according to the press release. 

Michael Griswold, College of Veterinary Medicine regents professor, said this is a movement initially started by a group of regents professors who have been at WSU for a long time, including himself, who has been at the university for 48 years.

“We know what [the university] can be, and we’re afraid [and] we’re concerned about where it’s going,” Griswold said. “We decided to speak up and see if we could make some changes and things in terms of the direction the university is going.”

There were multiple people involved in creating the documents included in the press release, and different parts are important to different people, he said. 

“For me, the major issue is the lack of attention to research,” Griswold said. “We’ve lost almost 50% of our research faculty. We’re an R1 university, and if that continues, we’re not going to be an R1 university anymore and that’s a serious concern because it affects our recruitment of faculty and students.”

By creating the document and sending it to the public, the faculty members involved hope to create enough of a movement to approach the Board of Regents and have them make changes in administration, he said. 

“Right now, they’re not receptive to us,” Griswold said. “They think we’re a small group of rabble-rousers, but in fact, this is a large body of thought across the university.”

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ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Editor-in-chief
Alexandria started working for the Evergreen in October 2020 as a news reporter and eventually hopped around to the roots/life, opinion and culture sections. She was a copy editor for three semesters beginning in January 2021 and was the Life editor in fall 2022. She was the copy chief for the summer and fall 2023 semesters, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the spring 2024 semester. She is from Tri-Cities, WA, and is always writing in her free time.

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  • Quinton JacobsFeb 22, 2024 at 10:33 am

    I can understand the concerns here. I also think that the WSU President should reside in the President’s Residence, on campus, and Absolutely Not in Tri-Cities!!! This makes him out of touch.