UWA Board Controversy

For its quarterly meeting Monday, the Board of Trustees for the University of West Alabama met at the same time but in different locations.

Seven of the 13 members met in the student union, while five members, the university president and a host of others met for the same reason in the Bell Conference Center, which is also on campus.

At issue is the March 3 meeting, during which a heated argument took place among board members. The dispute involved the appointment of an attorney. During the argument, a motion was made for the meeting to be adjourned. Following a "voice-vote", board chairman, Mann Minus, declared the meeting adjourned and he and three other members left.

After their departure, the majority of the remaining members say they voted Minus out as chairman and voted in vice-chairman Tom Umphrey to chair the board. That brings us to Monday, when separate meetings were held at the same time. Both parties say they are acting appropriately.

"Well, we have four attorneys with opinions that say that under Robert's Rules of Order, which we work under, that the board meeting was adjourned and that's what we're going by, is their legal opinions," said Mann Minus.

"First, you can't adjourn a meeting when there is a motion and a second on the floor," said Vice-Chairman elect, Alex Saad. "Mr. Minus would not recognize or call the motion and when asked why, he said two of my votes aren't here and one of them called for an adjournment and they left."

"I have duties to do and I must do them, but the board has to handle this," says UWA president Dr. Richard Holland. "The institution internally continues to run and we're doing very well. The faculty and staff is doing its job. It's an issue that I cannot control."

At the meeting with Minus, board members tabled a proposal to increase tuition by 10 percent. Meanwhile, at the other meeting, the executive committee for the full board voted in favor of a 10 percent tuition increase and say as required, they will notify all board members of their decision. What will be the final outcome is unclear.

This is also the case concerning the disputed appointment, which sparked the controversy. That matter is also yet to be resolved.

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the board is in September. If nothing changes, at that time, both groups say they will again meet at the same time but in different locations.

Board members say it's possible that court action will have to be taken to resolve the controversy.