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Ithaca College Faculty Votes No Confidence in Embattled President

Faculty members at Ithaca College have voted no confidence in the New York institution’s president, Thomas R. Rochon, the Faculty Council announced on Monday.

Out of 469 eligible faculty members, 406 participated in the vote, the council said, and 78 percent voted no confidence. The body cited what it called Mr. Rochon’s lackluster response to student protesters, and noted that faculty members had been voicing concern about his leadership for years.

“I am committed to working with every faculty member, every staff member, and every student who desires to make Ithaca College a more welcoming and inclusive community,” Mr. Rochon said in a statement to The Chronicle. “That is how I can best serve the college, and it will continue to be the focus of my efforts and attention.”

The vote came weeks after student protesters at the college first called for Mr. Rochon’s resignation. In mid-November, nearly 1,000 students walked out of their classes in protest, and the Student Government Association released the results of a similar vote on November 30: 72 percent of students voted no confidence in Mr. Rochon.

Mr. Rochon addressed the November protests in a commentary for The Chronicle in which he argued that college leaders shouldn’t turn in their resignations. Instead, he wrote, they should increase their commitment to diversity on their campuses.

Last week a student group at Ithaca called People of Color began occupying a campus building. They stayed until Sunday, and they held a second walkout on Friday.

“In response to POCatIC’s serious demands, Rochon issued nothing but his customary platitudes, such as ‘We’re all in this together’ and ‘I’m all in for IC. Are you all in for IC?’” the faculty group Faculty@IC said in a news release.

“The votes of campus constituencies represent one way, along with the many interactions we’ve had on campus and by phone and email, for students and faculty to make their views known to us,” Thomas H. Grape, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement to The Chronicle. “We will brief the full Board of Trustees on everything we have learned, and we intend to share an update with the IC community early in the spring semester.”

Correction (12/15/2015, 10:54 a.m.): A previous version of this post incorrectly attributed a statement to the Faculty Council. It was sent by the group Faculty@IC.

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