President Gamble to Faculty Senate: “I owe you an apology.”

The following is a summary of what will appear in the Feb 15 edition of the Northern Light. Due to time constraints, this summary does not include Gamble’s responses to our questions.

President Gamble accepted faculty criticism that his recent chancellor appointment of Tom Case was hasty, non-transparent, and exclusive.

Gamble opened with his intent on attending the forum, “I need to understand my mistake. My biases from my background is not the same as the biases from your background.”

After apologizing and setting down rules for the forum, Gamble addressed how he arrived to his decision. He acknowledged past advice that highlighted the importance of shared government. Preparing for his role as president, Gamble had read a book on the issue written by Dr. James L. Fisher, the author of the recent Fisher Report. From his readings, Gamble believed he had followed expected procedures.

Gamble said that the decision to conduct a national search (what he called a world-wide search) was of a great importance to only certain parties. During the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee, only faculty representatives stressed the need for a year-long, nation-wide search process. Gamble said he left this meeting with two points in mind: that he was accountable for the decision, and that there is superior talent in Alaska.

Before Faculty President John Petraitis suggested the forum, Gamble believed that he had gathered sufficient input from involved parties to make a decision.

Compounding his decision was a surprising lack of input:

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“I did not receive the amount of responses I expected. I expected to receive hundreds of letters,” Gamble re-iterated throughout the forum.

Faculty disagreed that he did not receive much input, citing the two motions they created in September and December. They highlighted the fact that Gamble only sent letters to the UAA community at large, and did not specifically address Faculty Senate, and that he never responded to the two motions they had passed.

Associate Professor of Nursing, Susan Wilson said,

“I appreciate hearing that you want our input–but we thought we were giving input. If we are giving advice we want to know what will be done with it.”

Gamble did not explicitly say what he was sorry for. Nonetheless, he apologized for the oversight:

“There’s no question about it. I owe you an apology,” Gamble said.