CHENEY — Eastern Washington University’s faculty senate has approved a vote of no confidence in President Mary Cullinan, showing disapproval of her handling of the university’s brewing financial crisis.

The Monday vote, taken during a Zoom meeting, was 35-2, with four faculty senators abstaining and one absent.

The Spokesman-Review says the vote drew a swift rebuke from EWU’s board of trustees, who defended Cullinan and expressed no willingness to replace her as the university weathers financial challenges made drastically worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The faculty senate failed to give credit to our university president for her many significant accomplishments and achievements,” the eight trustees said in a joint statement.

They noted, among other things, Cullinan’s work to secure state funding for EWU’s new Interdisciplinary Science Center, the expansion of health sciences programs, and the establishment of a campus multicultural center.

A statement from Cullinan’s office said she “remains committed to partnering with faculty to work through its concerns while ensuring students receive an excellent education.″

Many faculty members have decried the university’s spending on athletics, particularly football.

Administrators say EWU in fiscal 2021 could lose more than $12 million in state funding and more than $24 million from tuition and other sources due to complications from the pandemic.

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