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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Faculty Senate moves for no confidence in St. Edward’s University president

Claire Lawrence / Hilltop Views
Students gather on the university Seal with signs displaying call to actions. Students dance around to pop music in rainbow attire as they await the results of today’s Faculty Senate meeting.

Faculty Senators motioned to place a no confidence vote for St. Edward’s University President Montserrat Fuentes before the Collegium at today’s Faculty Senate meeting. The Collegium consists of the entire faculty, including adjunct instructors who teach at least two courses per semester. 

“So, all of the faculty members would get an opportunity to either demonstrate their support and, hopefully, their complete knowledge of what’s going on,” Professor Teri Varner said. “I am totally okay with how the decision was made in the Faculty Senate. This is unprecedented. We’ve never done this before. This is one of the ways that we know how, diplomatically, to communicate our lack of approval. She does not have my approval anymore.”

The announcement came during a student-led protest at the university Seal — the second display this week — that was calling for a vote of no confidence during the senate meeting. 

“It was so beautiful to see our faculty looking out for us, and so I had some tears, and I couldn’t stop smiling for a while,” senior Zach Benoit said. “It was just great to see that we have people on our side.”

Bierschenk stands on the university Seal with a megaphone speaking on her disappointment in President Fuentes. This speech kicked off the successive student-led protest on campus today. (Claire Lawrence)

Benoit and freshman Louie Moore are scheduled to meet with President Fuentes on Monday and discuss ongoing student efforts to advocate for the reinstatement of the Pride flag that used to hang in the campus coffee shop.

“I’ve been wanting to have a conversation with her, and I’m glad she’s open to having that conversation,” Benoit said. “I’m interested to see what’s going to be said that hasn’t been said already, and I’m excited to be fighting for my community.”

Benoit is one of the many students leading this week’s protests. Alongside him is junior Mackenna Bierschenk, a biochemistry major who runs the Instagram account @wheredtheprideflaggo, which began posting student, faculty and alumni testimonies two weeks ago

“I still continue to hold the stance that it is not profitable or sustainable for (Fuentes) to continue to be in office, and I hope she steps down,” Bierschenk said. “I think either way, today was a really big show of our power and the faculty’s power together.”


Editor’s Note: Hilltop Views’ original version of this article said the motion from Faculty Senate regarded Provost Marianne Ward-Peradoza as well as President Fuentes. This is incorrect. The motion only regards President Fuentes. When we get it wrong, we correct our mistakes. Hilltop Views is obligated to publish a clear correction online as soon as possible after the error has appeared. An update was made to the article on March 1 at 5:37 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Claire Lawrence
Claire Lawrence, Editor-in-Chief
Claire is a senior Communication major with a minor in Journalism continuing to dedicate her time growing and learning as a student journalist. Claire has been with Hilltop Views for three years. This is her second year as Editor-in-Chief. Previously, she served as a Staff Writer and as News Editor. Outside of St. Edward's, Claire plays bass in Austin-local band "Losers." Though she is graduating soon, she hopes to leave her mark in the newsroom and inspire other students to get involved with their campus paper.

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  • R

    Ryan CunninghamMar 6, 2024 at 10:38 am

    It’s been crazy to see what’s been happening at St. Ed’s lately as a (somewhat) recent grad. Sad to see this whole situation being such a negative experience for all the student impacted. It’s good to see some action taking place – this behavior is unacceptable on behalf of Pres. Fuentes.

    I support the faculty senate’s decisions up to this point, I hope this situation gets resolved and helps St. Ed’s take a big step forward in the right direction.

  • S

    Stephanie MartinezMar 1, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    Dr. Varner is a full professor not an Associate.