Low morale: Finlandia faculty makes vote of ‘No Confidence’ in president


HANCOCK — The Finlandia University Faculty Council conducted a Vote of No Confidence by the non-administrative faculty in regards to University President Philip Johnson.

A member of the Faculty Council sent an email to all non-administrative faculty, informing them of the results. On condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliatory measures, a faculty member forwarded a draft of the letter to the Daily Mining Gazette.

“Of the 22 non-administrative faculty members, 20 were reached for voting,” the email reads. “Two of those who participated registered votes of abstention. 100% of the remaining faculty members voted No Confidence in President Johnson’s leadership of the university.

“This level of unanimity is an unheard-of scenario in higher education,” the email continued. “In a united voice, the Finlandia faculty urges the board to act swiftly to find a path into the future for Finlandia.”

The Faculty Council sent the letter to the Board of Trustees on June 10. Included in the letter is the council’s rationale for the vote.

The rationale stated is as follows:

“Since President Johnson was appointed President of Finlandia, enrollment has declined by more than a third from 541 students in Fall of 2007 to 350 FTEs in Spring of 2021. At no point has Finlandia come close to achieving the goal of 750 students outlined in his strategic planning document, Plan 2021. Finlandia’s financial situation is dire despite deep cuts to faculty compensation and benefits. These cuts began well before the pandemic with cuts to retirement and healthcare in 2016 and continued through the pandemic with further retirement and pay cuts that remain indefinitely in place despite large influxes of Federal COVID-relief money. President Johnson has also overseen a slashing of faculty positions and course offerings that has been neither strategic nor planned. These decisions have compromised academic programs and resulted in the destruction of the International School of Art and Design. During this time, the faculty has not been offered an opportunity to evaluate the performance of the president. The question before us is whether the person who led us into the current crisis is capable of leading us out of it.

“A result like this strongly advocates for the removal of the administrator in question,” added a Finlandia professor who provided comment on condition of anonymity due to worry of retaliatory action.

President Johnson was unavailable for comment at time of printing.


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