Peninsula university weighs president's fate

BELMONT — After student, teacher and faculty groups publicly blasted the university president, Notre Dame de Namur’s Board of Trustees are investigating the accusations and hope to have a resolution by the end of the year.

The 15-member Special Trustee Committee — formed on Oct. 24 — is holding its final scheduled series of 15-minute interviews today with members of the NDNU community over their lack of confidence in President Jack Oblak. The group was formed to assist the full board in making a decision on the matter.

The first meetings were held Nov. 9 and Nov. 14. Signups for the meetings began Nov. 7.

According to a written statement from the committee, any members of the NDNU student body, faculty or staff — even administrators — were invited to the meetings and “the University’s policies of no-retaliation and no-discrimination fully apply to those who participate in this process.”

“This is really democracy in action,” said David Catherman, NDNU vice president for advancement. “I’ve been in higher education for over 30 years, and honestly I’ve never seen a process so transparent and encouraging of diversity of opinion.”

On Oct. 16, Notre Dame’s faculty senate voted to ask for Oblak’s resignation and the student senate passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership. Notre Dame has been the focus of Belmont tension stemming from the ongoing battle over the noise on Koret Field and faculty members have expressed concerns about the president’s priorities for the school. Days later, the university’s staff joined them in their concern, and Belmont’s City Council has also weighed in on the controversy.

Mayor Coralin Feierbach said that Oblak’s focus on athletics has drawn funding and attention away from the rest of the school and put students in the middle of the battle over the field.

“I think there’s a lot of discontent at the university between professors and students, and I think it’s gotten a deaf ear,” Feierbach said.

What that tension in mind, the special committee said in its statement that it “does not intend that these procedures alter the authority or responsibility of the president during the time that this committee is doing its work.”

Catherman said the group is hoping to finish its interviews and investigation by December.

“The trustees are not going into this process with foregone conclusions,” he said. “But any outcome, ultimately, will be determined by the Board of Trustees.”

Although today is the last day of appointments, information can also be sent to Trustee Marc Desautels at mpdesautels@yahoo.com or faxed to (650) 851-8878. Today is the deadline for that information as well.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

In his extensive filming of The City during the pandemic, Eric Goodfield said he has been “observing how the environment affects the behavior of people.” (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Filmmaker Eric Goodfield fixes lens on SF’s COVID days

140 days of shooting in The City made for ‘greatest adventure’

Most Read