Western Colorado University’s Board of Trustees issued a statement of support for the university’s president, Greg Salsbury, weeks after the university’s Faculty Senate passed a resolution asking for new leadership.
The Faculty Senate passed its resolution Feb. 22 following controversial comments from Salsbury about the January attack on the U.S. Capitol that temporarily delayed certification of November’s presidential election results. Salsbury wrote in an email sent to employees the day after the attack that the university supports the First Amendment but condemned the Capitol riot. Elsewhere in his message, faculty members saw him as equating the attack on the Capitol with racial justice protests taking place over the previous year.
“Over the last year, rioting, burning, looting, and violence have emerged from protests across our country -- resulting in seemingly endless confrontations, destruction of entire cities, properties, serious injuries, the public’s overall sense of security, and deaths,” Salsbury wrote, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Entire cities were not in fact destroyed by the 2020 protests, the Faculty Senate resolution noted. Among several other complaints, the faculty resolution charged Salsbury with demonstrating a misunderstanding and dismissiveness toward diversity, equity, inclusion and internationalization issues and said that he often responded to critiques with defensiveness instead of listening.
But in a Tuesday statement, Western Colorado’s Board of Trustees said it supports the president and looks “forward to fostering unity through transparency and accountability, bringing together the best efforts of the Board, the president, faculty, students, and the entire WCU Community, to lead Western successfully into the future.”
The board statement acknowledged the faculty vote and concerns; affirmed a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity; and said the board expects Salsbury to unite the broader university community.