By Ariana Babcock
President Anne Blackhurst announced there is a national search for MSUM’s next vice president, after Dr. Yvette Underdue Murph left the position for personal reasons.
Murph started working at MSUM in 2013, when she was hired to focus on enrollment management and student affairs. While Blackhurst said Murph did not receive a vote of no confidence, Student Senate President Sean Duckworth said certain faculty members weren’t always satisfied with her.
“She didn’t always have the easiest relationships with people under her,” he said. “I don’t know if there was going to be a vote of no confidence, but I do know several staff members were talking to their union and were documenting certain cases where she, or people who worked for her, had said and done certain things.”
Duckworth said Murph advocated for the Mosaic Center, which became a controversial topic for the campus community. The Mosaic Center is currently under construction and there are still concerned students. During the last academic school year, students protested, petitioned and fought against the consolidation of student groups in one area. Duckworth said this situation could have brought a big challenge for Murph.
“I think the Mosaic Center was one of a series of a couple of different things that people could point to and use against her,” Duckworth said.
Blackhurst said that she is ready to move forward and focus on finding the next vice president.
“I think that changes in leadership are always, somewhat, unsettling and I think it’s normal for there to be a certain amount of speculation,” Blackhurst said. “I also think it’s important to respect the privacy of our employees.”
While the national search is starting as soon as possible, the next vice president may not take office until the spring semester or even July 1.
Students and faculty will be able to voice their opinions and expectations for the next vice president.
“The campus community will have opportunities to participate in outlining what we want in a person who takes that position, what qualities we are looking for, and what experience we’re looking for,” Blackhurst said. “So there will be a campus dialogue about that.”
While MSUM searches for the next vice president of the university, Student Senate Diversity Chair Lexi Byler hopes the new candidate will focus on increasing enrollment.
“If we bring someone new in, they’ll be able to do something about that, get enrollment going back up instead of down,” Byler said. “That way we don’t have to worry about things like tuition going up.”
According to the Fall 2015 Full-Time Equivalent Enrollment Report, the number of new and returning students is 7.5 percent lower this semester than in fall 2014. Blackhurst said enrollment is one of the biggest issues facing the university.