No Confidence Vote for Cal State L.A. President

The Academic Senate at California State University, Los Angeles, voted no confidence in President William Covino Tuesday, the latest fallout from an incident in which campus police forcibly removed a professor from a May 1 mayoral debate.

Videos from the event show Professor Melina Abdullah, a Black woman, being removed and restrained by campus police. Her offense? Not having a ticket for the event. In waffling statements, Covino first seemed to blame Abdullah for the incident, then backtracked. Covino has denied involvement in Abdullah’s removal and promised an investigation of the incident.

Abdullah has since called for Covino to be fired.

The Academic Senate at Cal State L.A. approved a no-confidence vote Tuesday, with 91 percent of the 40 participants casting a ballot against Covino, according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted that not all eligible voters participated and that the vote lacks any official repercussions.

“I’m committed to continue working with our more than 1,500 faculty members to advance student success, graduation rates and economic mobility,” Covino said in a statement reported by the Times. “Everyday [sic] our faculty and staff go above and beyond to fulfill the mission of our university. That deep commitment to our students and our community should not be overshadowed by, or mischaracterized because of, the incident last week.”

The no-confidence vote in Covino marks the second such decision against a CSU president this week. On Monday, faculty members at Sonoma State University voted no confidence in President Judy Sakaki for various issues, including that she allegedly overlooked sexual harassment complaints against her husband and retaliated against an ex-provost who brought the claims to the attention of CSU officials.

(This article has been updated to relfect that the no confidence vote at Cal State LA was made by the Academic Senate, but was not an overall faculty vote.)

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