Essex County College faculty members issues no-confidence vote, details list of complaints against president

The Star-Ledger
Edythe Abdullah knew it would be tough to replace Essex County College’s previous president, who held the job for nearly 30 years.

She didn’t know it would be this tough.

Less than a year into the job, the new president is facing a faculty revolt. Last week, the county college’s faculty voted 101-6 to issue a "vote of no confidence" in their new president. Professors presented Abdullah with a three-page list of complaints about her leadership, calling her "unresponsive, indecisive, untimely and an untrustworthy administrator."

Though the no-confidence vote has no formal implications, it was a disappointment for Abdullah. Despite the rough beginning, she said she has no regrets about taking the job.

"I have a great deal to offer Essex County College and the Newark community," said Abdullah, 57. "Maybe I’ve gotten off to a rocky start in doing that. Maybe there have been some mistakes. Maybe I don’t understand the political culture enough here to have as smooth a start as I would have liked."

Abdullah, the former president of the Downtown Campus of Florida State College in Jacksonville, earns $245,000 per year in her new post. She took over last April for veteran Essex County College president A. Zachary Yamba, who was hailed as an icon at the 13,000-student school.

Much of the turmoil surrounding the new president can be traced back to Abdullah’s questioning of the college’s tenure process, according to the president and her critics. Professors who work at least five years apply for tenure, which protects employees from getting fired without cause. Under the old system, nearly all Essex County College professors who applied were granted tenure.
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