GRAND FORKS—Faculty in the University of North Dakota's aviation program are calling for the removal of Provost Thomas DiLorenzo, claiming in a faculty resolution that DiLorenzo has "refused to modify his micro-managing, aggressive, heavy-handed tactics despite evidence that many on campus have been dissatisfied with his leadership."
The aviation department, one of the largest programs on campus, voted 32-0 in favor of the no confidence resolution on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Two faculty abstained from the vote.
The resolution asks for UND President Mark Kennedy to remove DiLorenzo from his position as provost.
"Provost Thomas DiLorenzo has lost the trust and respect of the faculty members in
the Department of Aviation," the resolution reads. "The faculty of the Department of Aviation has no confidence in Provost Thomas DiLorenzo."
The resolution continued, saying DiLorenzo appears to have "little if any concern" about the best interests of the department and also appears to be "unwilling to address the concerns of the faculty in any meaningful way."
The resolution claims that DiLorenzo is "very difficult to make contact with" and is also often not in his office or on campus. When DiLorenzo is absent, no one remains at UND with the authority to make decisions, the resolution said.
"Provost Thomas DiLorenzo regularly refuses to make timely decisions on critical
matters," the resolution said.
The two-and-a-half-page resolution claims "DiLorenzo's failure to follow appropriate admissions protocols has resulted in the admission of poorly prepared students" to the program, adding that these students may have "a low chance of success, spending money and using Department resources." The department claims this has also may have affected retention rates.
The resolution also claims DiLorenzo has closed and/or diminished important departments on campus, such as the International Center, which provided specialized services to international aviation students. These services now must be provided by the department, the resolution said.
DiLorenzo has refused to allow the aviation department to hire tenure-track faculty positions, "thus making it very difficult, if not impossible, to recruit needed faculty to our program and severely limiting the ability of these new faculty members to engage in research," the resolution said.
DiLorenzo did not approve the department's request to recruit new faculty for the fall 2018 semester until May 2018, the resolution said, which made it difficult for the department to attract external applicants.
The provost has also removed the graduate dean, the resolution said.
DiLorenzo is requiring that flight training rates be subject to the review of a committee lacking any aviation experience, according to the resolution. The department claims that this is "micro-managing our programs and likely jeopardizing flight safety."
"This dangerous precedent of not allowing trained aviation professionals to determine the appropriate flight training rates will lead to a reduction in aviation safety and subject the students, employees and general public to unnecessary risks," the resolution said.
The resolution also claims that despite a large increase in enrollment at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace, a new budget model known as MIRA has created more expenditures than revenue.
"Provost Thomas DiLorenzo has overseen a chaotic, massively misunderstood and greatly misguided new budget model known as 'MIRA,' which purports to return local financial control to colleges and incentivize colleges which generate additional revenue," the resolution said. "Almost all colleges are in debt to the central university under 'MIRA.' "