Former UNI provost continues ‘no confidence’ streak at NEIU



Former UNI provost Gloria Gibson was named as president of Northeastern Illinois University in March of 2018. She received a vote of no confidence in March of this year, just as she received a vote of no confidence in 2012 during her time at UNI.

In December of 2008, Gloria Gibson was announced as the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Northern Iowa. On March 2, 2012, a vote of no confidence was passed by UNI faculty. In April of 2014, Gibson officially announced her resignation. In March of 2018, Gibson was announced as the president of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). NEIU decided not to renew Gibson’s contract in 2022, and in March, its faculty also passed a vote of no confidence against Gibson. As the second university to pass a vote of no confidence against Gibson, what has gone wrong?

When asking most professors who were at UNI during Gibson’s time, they’ll refer to her years as Provost as “The Dark Ages.” In her time at UNI, Gibson signed off on the decisions to close UNI’s hallmark Price Lab and cut academic programs, all without consulting the faculty. Throughout Rod Library’s IndexUNI on Gloria Gibson, it’s illustrated that through 2008, UNI went through severe budget cuts, almost directly after Gibson’s appointment. Under Gibson in 2011, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and College of Natural Sciences became the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences that we know today. In 2011 came more budget cuts, and in early 2012 the UNI Museum and Price Lab were slated to be shuttered. Closely following that, the athletics program suffered further cuts after the budget cuts they took in 2008, and academic programs were announced to be shutting down or merged with other programs. These budget cuts, academic program cuts and the shutting down of the Price Lab sent the campus awry, especially with the risk of 70 programs being closed completely, restructured, or suspended. 

During her time at UNI, Gibson notably closed UNI’s Price Laboratory School in 2012, originally built in 1950.

This uproar prompted an op-ed from then student body president Spencer Walrath to appear in the Northern Iowan, alongside peaceful protests from students upset about their programs in jeopardy of being closed. Not long after this was announced, the UNI faculty passed a vote of no confidence in Gibson with a vote of 172-69 on March 2, 2012. Shortly after this, the world languages programs condensed to Spanish and Spanish Teaching, and the sciences programs were also condensed. Gibson officially resigned from her post as Provost on June 30 of 2014. These occurrences are what defines this time period as “The Dark Ages” for some UNI professors.

The Board of Trustees did not renew Gibson’s contract due to failed leadership and lack of communication…

— Scott Andrews


After her time at UNI, Gibson had a short stint as Provost for Morgan State University, and she was appointed as NEIU’s President in 2018. Her contract was not renewed in 2022, and recently, NEIU’s faculty passed a vote of no confidence against Gibson. Scott Andrews, first year transfer student at NEIU and writer for NEIU’s student newspaper, the Independent, explained some of the struggles occurring at NEIU from a student’s perspective. “The Board of Trustees did not renew Gibson’s contract due to failed leadership and lack of communication,” Andrews elaborated. “Over the past 10 years, NEIU has seen consistent enrollment decreases, which all universities did, due in part to COVID-19, but Gibson promised to address these enrollment issues and never did. On top of that, she also had failed collaboration promises with faculty.” 

The faculty at NEIU loves their students and they love this university, but the administration is stonewalling them.

— Scott Andrews

The relationship between NEIU’s Board of Trustees, who originally appointed Gibson, and NEIU’s faculty has been strained, especially since the faculty’s vote of no confidence in the Board of Trustees in December of 2022. “The faculty at NEIU loves their students and they love this university, but the administration is stonewalling them,” Andrews commented. The lack of communication between NEIU faculty and administration has left faculty without fair contracts, and the faculty union is poised to strike within the week should mediations with administration fail. “Because of this, the semester may end one to two weeks early, students may be given the grades they currently have, which could lead to lower overall grades,” Andrews elaborated on the strike. According to Andrews, the current NEIU administration just isn’t in touch with the needs of faculty and students. “The average NEIU student is 27 years old, and the administration is trying to recruit younger students, which isn’t NEIU’s demographic.”

In a statement released by Gibson and current chairman of NEIU’s Board of Trustees, José Rico, they address their continued commitment to their faculty and students. “With the welfare of students in mind, we are fully committed to continue bargaining in good faith. We deeply appreciate our faculty and staff, who are all committed to our mission of preparing a diverse community of students for leadership and service in our region and in a dynamic multicultural world. While the university manages its financial concerns, we remain committed to our mission to serve our students, many of whom are young professionals and first-generation college students.”

Gibson’s leadership, which led to the “Dark Ages” of UNI is leading NEIU to a similar place, between NEIU’s financial situation, enrollment issues, and the relationships between administration, faculty and students. NEIU’s Board of Trustees will be looking for leadership to replace Gibson, and said president will take on the aforementioned issues left behind by Gibson. Re-stabilizing NEIU will take time, and the consequences of some of the decisions made by NEIU administration will be felt by students and faculty alike for years to come.