Faculty narrowly reject the Sense of the Faculty Motion to release MIIS

By RAIN JI

COURTESY OF MONTEREY
Middlebury formally acquired its Monterey institute in 2010 after a five-year affiliation agreement.

The faculty rejected a Sense of the Faculty Motion regarding the dissolution of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) campus in Monterey, California. The motion, submitted by Professor of Mathematics Frank Swenton, failed with 121, or 48%, faculty in favor, and 133, or 52%, voting against during Friday morning’s faculty meeting. 

If passed, the motion would not have had binding implications for the administration. Further, according to Swenton, it “does not demand a particular timeframe within which this dissolution must happen, but it should be effected in a timely manner.” 

Heated debate followed the introduction of the motion. Some faculty cited the extraordinary circumstances and financial hardships Middlebury employees faced as reasons not to let go of the institute, while others focused on the value and meaning of community. In the beginning of the discussion, Swenton made the distinction between dissolving the institute’s “campus” and eliminating its “faculty” and “programs.” According to him, the motion does not intend to let go of programs or faculty at MIIS, but instead advocates moving them to Middlebury’s Vermont campus. 

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Provost briefed the faculty on the financial records prior to the vote. He talked about where the data on MIIS came from, and pointed out that MIIS is projected to produce a surplus in 2020.

Provost and College Provost Jeffrey Cason also noted that MIIS is exploring possibilities of introducing residential programs on a small scale.