No Confidence in Dr. Shelby Thames as President of The University of Southern Mississippi sign now

As alumni, faculty, staff, students, and concerned friends of The University of Southern Mississippi, we are deeply troubled by the recent events at our beloved university. On Friday, March 5, 2004, Dr. Shelby Thames suspended two tenured professors, Dr. Francis Glamser and Dr. Gary Stringer. Their office locks were changed, and their research files and computers were confiscated. To our knowledge, no other university officials (i.e. chairs, dean, etc.) were consulted in the decision making process. This is the latest in a long list of autocratic decisions made by the Thames administration with no input from faculty or other stakeholders.

These actions are a violation of academic freedom in that they stem directly from inquiries that these professors made into the credentials of a member of the Thames administration. Unfortunately, this is simply the latest in a long line of abuses of power perpetrated by Shelby Thames. A few examples:

*April 2002: Faculty members send letters opposing Thames as president when he is named as one of four finalists. They characterize him as a "micromanager and taskmaster." More than 85 percent of faculty in a vote organized by the American Association of University Professors say Thames would be unacceptable. Thames is chosen to lead university despite the concerns.

*January 2003: Thames announces that the university's nine colleges will be consolidated into five, meaning the existing deans will lose their positions. The deans must reapply for the fewer positions. The AAUP issues a statement calling the "cavalier treatment of deans reprehensible."

*April 2003: Faculty calls for state College Board to mediate an internal flap. Faculty are concerned about a reorganization that will eliminate dean positions as well as a new evaluation system.

*May 2003: The USM administration butts heads with the student-run newspaper, The Student Printz. "I'm real concerned with what we've taught our students in journalism," Thames states.

*June 2003: Thames announces that the restructuring will result in 18 layoffs. Five top USM administration officials either resign or are laid off.

*December 2003: USM admits problems with a student count that showed it had the largest student enrollment of any state university. Susan Siltanen, director of the Office of Institutional Research, resigns due to the student count inconsistencies.

*January 2004: The AAUP investigates whether a vice president has inaccurate information on her resume about working at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, when she was actually employed at Ashland Community College.

*March 2004: Faculty questions how decisions over merit raises were decided. The university buys a full-page newspaper advertisement to defend the raises.

We, the undersigned, bear witness to this pattern of egregious misuse of power and acknowledge the culture of fear that has resulted from the actions of the Thames administration. Therefore, we strongly urge the Board of Trustees to:

*Fully reinstate Dr. Glamser and Dr. Stringer
*Provide outside mediation to foster communication between the faculty and Dr. Thames
*Begin a full and open investigation into the decision-making processes of the Thames administration
*And, if met with opposition for such an investigation, we call for the immediate termination of Dr. Shelby Thames as President of The University of Southern Mississippi

Please take a stand for the future of Mississippi.

Thank you.

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Latest Signatures

  • 28 December 2015650. Robert Js
    I support this petition
  • 25 December 2015649. Dr Seanm
    Dr. Thames is seriously endangering the reputation of USM as a research and educational institution. USM Faculty? Staff? Student? Alumni? Parent? Friend? colleague in early modern studies
  • 23 December 2015648. Kate M
    I support this petition
  • 23 December 2015647. Cameron Rb
    I support this petition
  • 28 November 2015646. Suzanne H
    I support this petition
  • 25 October 2015645. Peter B
    I support this petition
  • 12 October 2015644. Charles Wdurhamprofessoremeritusenglishmiddletennesseestateu
    Gary Stringer has been a personal and professional friend of mine for years. He is a first-rate scholar, a fine human being, and his expertise in his field is widely acknowledged. It is a travesty to force his resignation or to fire him. USM Faculty? Staf
  • 02 October 2015643. Keith W
    I support this petition
  • 27 September 2015642. Kayce Learda
    I support this petition
  • 26 September 2015641. Judy B
    I support this petition
  • 21 September 2015640. Shane J
    I support this petition
  • 20 September 2015639. Nashaat S
    I support this petition
  • 11 September 2015638. Professor Davidmikicsunivofh
    I support this petition
  • 10 September 2015637. Jana Hudsonb
    I support this petition
  • 09 September 2015636. Robert A
    I support this petition
  • 06 September 2015635. G A
    I support this petition
  • 11 August 2015634. Daniel C
    I support this petition
  • 08 August 2015633. Beverly M
    If Thames left today, it would take 15 or more years to make up the damage to Southern's reputation. Graduation Year(s), if applicable 1972 USM Faculty? Staff? Student? Alumni? Parent? Friend? Alumni
  • 08 August 2015632. Dr Lodewijkwillemn
    A serious threat to academic freedom. I fully sympathise with my friends at USM
  • 25 July 2015631. Roy C
    I support this petition
  • 17 July 2015630. Mary H
    I support this petition
  • 16 July 2015629. Mary Betha
    I support this petition
  • 12 July 2015628. Melissa L
    Please bring back integrity to USM's administration! Graduation Year(s), if applicable 1988 USM Faculty? Staff? Student? Alumni? Parent? Friend? Alumni
  • 08 July 2015627. Julie Y
    I support this petition
  • 07 July 2015626. Christine Aw
    I support this petition
  • 04 July 2015625. Bryce M
    We must rid ourselves of this tyrant Graduation Year(s), if applicable 2002 USM Faculty? Staff? Student? Alumni? Parent? Friend? Alumni
  • 29 June 2015624. Jennifer B
    I support this petition

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Marianne WilsonBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
The Mississippi College Board

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