YU board supports President Richard Joel after faculty no-confidence vote

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The Yeshiva University board of trustees issued a statement in support of President Richard Joel after the undergraduate faculty overwhelmingly passed a no-confidence resolution against him.

Board chairman Dr. Henry Kressel, in a letter accompanying the board’s message issued Friday, called the vote that day of the faculty of Yeshiva College at Yeshiva University “an unfortunate development,” adding that the administration has held several meetings with the faculty “to develop plans to enhance the quality of the educational experience at YU while saving costs.”

In a vote that is not binding on the board, 80 percent of the faculty voted no-confidence to 3 percent confidence, with 17 abstentions, amid frustration over deep cuts in the curriculum and the announcement that some contract faculty will be let go. Some two-thirds of the faculty voted.

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“The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for ensuring the University is able to move forward with excellence,” the board said in its statement. “This responsibility includes implementing a financial plan to ensure the sustainability of the institution. Under our direction, President Richard Joel, his administration and the Board’s outside advisers, Alvarez & Marsal (A&M), have identified areas across the entire university to streamline and realign operations, while ensuring the student experience remains vibrant. They have performed admirably in a difficult environment.”

Professor Gillian Steinberg, a member of the Yeshiva College executive committee, told The New York Jewish Week that the vote was meant to “signal donors in a meaningful way” and “indicate that the board of trustees is moving in the wrong direction.”

He told The Jewish Week that the vote was held after the faculty realized it could not plan the fall 2015 academic schedule since it did not know what courses and lecturers were facing the chopping block.

Last month, Yeshiva University signed an agreement in principle to transfer the operations and finances of its Albert Einstein College of Medicine to the Montefiore Health System.

The university lost substantially from its heavy investments with Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.