Grambling State University’s interim president, Dr. Cynthia Warrick, has expressed on various occasions her desire to be the permanent president at the university. But a contract between the University of Louisiana System and the Registry means this may not be possible.
The Registry is an organization that works to place senior-level administrators at colleges and universities in an interim capacity. Registry members, like Warrick, are prescreened and immediately ready to serve.
According to the scope of work, Warrick "shall not be permitted to seek, become a candidate for, or accept specified position on other than an interim basis under Registry auspices."
Jackie Tisdell, the assistant vice president of communication at the UL System, said the agreement between the two parties would have to be addressed, if Warrick decided to seek the post permanently.
"I will apply for the position if students, alumni, faculty and staff ask me to apply," Warrick said. "I am aware of the clause and understand that legal negotiation would be necessary to move forward at that point."
According to a source close to the situation, who wouldn’t speak on the record, the Hollins Group — the organization responsible for finding Grambling State a new president — has yet to receive an application from Warrick.
Warrick cannot assume any other position at the System "on a ongoing basis for a minimum period of two years" from the last day of service with System or from the date resignation from the Registry, according to the scope of work. The UL System paid a maximum fee of $48,500 for the Registry’s services, including placing Warrick at GSU, according to the contract.
That may be good news for many faculty and students. The Faculty Senate passed a "Vote of No Confidence" against the interim president and her administration. The Faculty Senate’s statement said Warrick was not the leader for GSU and strongly suggested that the UL System president, Dr. Sandra Woodley, dismiss Warrick. It also said Warrick is "one of the most disappointing and disrespected leaders" ever at Grambling.
"This has been one of the most difficult and troubling issues that I have faced as president of the Faculty Senate," Herbert Simmons said in a Nov. 19 press release. "It seems that when it comes to selecting a president for Grambling State University, we just can’t seem to get the right match."
However, Ebony Wilson, the vice president of the Student Government Association, said she would be comfortable under Warrick’s permanent leadership.
"(Warrick) has a good relationship with the students’ leaders," said the senior from Shreveport. "People always address the bad before they recognize the good."
And it seems the bad is spreading quickly. The Gramblinite has received emails and documents questioning the actions of Warrick and her hires, including a letter from Dr. Makram Himaya, a mathematics professor.
In his letter, Himaya stated that Warrick is "lying" about several financial situations with the university, including the budget deficit, the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, West Campus and the savings gained with her personnel cuts.
"Dr. Frank Pogue, former GSU president, in June of 2014 used discretionary funds and balanced the budget for (Fiscal Year) 2014," stated Himaya in his letter. "Therefore when Warrick took over in 2014, there was no budget deficit she had to deal with."
Warrick said the university budget shortfall was due to the drop in freshman enrollment, down nearly 1,000 students. However, Himaya contends the previous administration’s proposed FY 2015 budget had factored in the loss of even more students.
Warrick’s contract states she was to review the organization and administrative structure and the financial status of Grambling State. After she discovered a $3 million budget deficit, Warrick reconstructed the administrative flow and decided to cut all funding to the Grambling State University Lab Schools. She announced a furlough plan and declaring "targeted financial exigency" were the next steps.
While some at the university don’t believe Warrick is the right fit, the Hollins Group is determined to find the best candidate. They will be on campus on Dec. 16 or 17 to speak with student leaders on their concerns and wants in their new president. The Hollins Group plans to name a president by April 2015.