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Remove Chancellor Sheri N. Everts from her duties immediately

This petition had 2,119 supporters

This petition is directed towards President Margaret Spellings, members of the North Carolina Board of Governors, and members of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees. It is our need that you remove Chancellor Sheri N. Everts from her duties immediately. We believe her actions have been unjust, unfair, and selfish over her two-year term at Appalachian State University and we cannot wait for more damage to be done.

We petition that Chancellor Everts be fired as Chancellor of Appalachian State University immediately.

Below is a letter that I have written stating the main concerns that I see in regards to Chancellor Everts, however, there are many more by many different people.

I write this open letter with great respect to the State of North Carolina, President Margaret Spellings of the UNC System, members of The North Carolina Board of Governors, members of the Board of Trustees at Appalachian State University, along with the people whom the content of this letter impact the strongest: the students, faculty, and staff at Appalachian State University.

My name is Daniel Tassitino and today I write an open letter with my concerns for the direction of Appalachian State University. I am currently a second year senior International Business major. During my undergraduate experience, I’ve had the privilege of interacting with many political figures, administration, faculty, staff, and students from all 17 UNC System institutions. Some of the capacities I have served include: Student Body Vice President, The William R. Holland Fellows Program, a Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader, and the student intern for the Vice Chancellor for Student Development.

I remember Chancellor Everts first order of business as Chancellor of Appalachian State on July 1, 2014. She hosted a breakfast consisting of a few selected faculty, staff, and students. I remember her sitting and actively listening to us as we expressed our concerns and vision for our great institution. I left that meeting feeling positive and confident in the direction our university was headed. Sadly, today I write that this is not the case anymore.

The 2014-2015 Academic year was a difficult one for our campus. We had several issues of discrimination arise, challenges in how many reactions to sexual assault were dealt, and mostly 9 student deaths. Our campus was broken, and in a time where a Chancellor should have been walking and being there for our students, she was too busy “saving face” than to do the right thing. The only thing we did receive was emails coming from the Chancellor's office, but her presence was not there. These reactions caused extreme distress on our campus. As Student Body Vice President, when trying to confront the Chancellor regarding these issues, I was ignored - just as all students have been the past two years. The one person who acknowledged the distress and would listen was Vice Chancellor Wallace and the entire Student Development team.

As a William R. Holland Fellow, I was selected as one of twelve students from The Walker College of Business as part of a three-week delegation to Shanghai, China where we collaborated with students from Fudan University as the only student panel during the Shanghai Forum. Yale and Appalachian State are the only US universities with plaques on this campus. Chancellor Everts flew to China to meet and build connections for this amazing program that was created by Ken Peacock in 1999. However, when the delegation came to Appalachian State this past year, Chancellor Everts hosted a lunch in their honor without even attending. After using unrestricted foundation funds to travel to China with the mission of growing these relationships, how does not taking the time to meet with their delegation as they traveled to App State for two week look?

Where was Chancellor Everts during the HB2 sit in? The students were occupying the lobby, because they wanted their leader to stand with them. Instead - she acted cowardly and only met with a few leaders days after the sit in. She left her administrative team in the dark to deal with that issue while she attended to Margaret Spellings instead. I think that is a prime example of who Chancellor Everts is - someone who wants to please her boss while ignoring those she leads. Did I mention she threw away the furniture after the students had their sit in? This is a visual representation of efforts to foster an environment that further distances administration from student voices.

I certainly cannot leave out the multitude of discriminatory stand outs on our campus. During all of this I continued to ask myself - Where is Chancellor Everts? The answer is our leader remained cowardly on the 4th floor locked away from the chaos, again leaving it to her team of subordinates in which she ignored and mistreated from day one.
Vice Chancellor Wallace has stood up to the Chancellor time after time. Most recently on the Chancellor's proposal to halt a two-year project to rebuild Winkler Hall after a fee increase had been approved, contracts have been signed, and over four million dollars of student fees have been spent on preparation. I repeat: Chancellor Everts is considering throwing away four million dollars of student money in a sly and disrespectful manner. Don’t worry folks, if this is passes I'm sure the story will come out soon.

Not to mention her salary rose $50,000 this past academic school year. Chancellor Everts salary is now $335,000. I think that the associate professor of history at ASU said it perfectly, “I simply don’t think that it makes sense that at a time period when salaries for faculty and staff have been largely stagnant since 2008 that these raises be given to people who are already among the best paid people in the system.” The only thing I would add is - especially when the recipient of that raise is not doing their job. Seeing that we as students pay her salary, I certainly hope that the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors can listen to these points and take the action that should have been taken years back.

After a meeting with Chancellor Everts on Friday, June 3, 2016, the Vice Chancellor for Student Development, Cindy Wallace, was “removed from her duties effective immediately.” She was given no preface, no reason, no respect, and three days to clear out her office. These actions have been perceived as malicious, selfish and inconsiderate by a multitude of students.

Before going into detail about this removing of duties, I think it is important to give a little background of Cindy Wallace. Cindy Wallace first joined the Appalachian family in 1984 as the Coordinator of Federally Funded Student Support. She quickly became known for her advocacy for students and warm hearted spirit that can be felt anytime she walks in the room. In 1997, she became the Director of the Learning Assistance Program and then the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services in 2001. In 2004, Cindy Wallace assumed the role as the Vice Chancellor for the Division of Student Development at Appalachian State. She has now served under four chancellors, touched the lives of thousands of students, faculty members, and alumni. She has developed and organized our student development system the way it is today and has been crucial in the growth of this University.

If anyone is doubting the accomplishments and tenure of Cindy Wallace, she received the prestigious, William C. Friday lifetime achievement award. One bestowed upon just one individual within the UNC system each year that has truly made an amazing impact. It is an award provided by UNC-GA and ASG through the validation of its 220,000+ students.

Now I want to take you back to the Chancellor of two years. Chancellor Everts gave someone who has devoted their life to bettering this institution no notice, no justification, and three days to clear her office out. Regardless of whether you think this decision is justifiable or not, the process and respect that should have been given was simply not there.

Under Chancellor Everts watch, four Vice Chancellors have left. We now have a new Provost, and three interim Vice Chancellors. Most of these Vice Chancellors had been here for more than ten years, some left and went to other institutions. Something is wrong with that.

Our School's motto is Esse Quam Verdi: meaning to be rather than to seem. I have heard Chancellor Everts say this many times. The ironic thing is our CEO is doing the opposite. After seeing the hurt and heartache this entire division feels from this radical and unjust decision. You took our leader who we trusted, believed in, loved, and respected. This is the outcome of ignorant and radical decisions from someone who does not know our campus or what we need (how can you know when you don’t utilize your team or talk to your students).

Chancellor Everts is among the worst of leaders I have ever interacted with. I am ashamed that she is the leader of such a wonderful place that has meant so much to me over the years. I believe she is conniving, disrespectful, and unauthentic and I worry if actions are not taken immediately this institution will continue to radically degrade. Countless students, faculty, staff, and alumni are hurting from her ignorance and inconsideration for people. She is cowardly and unfit for this campus. I wish with all my power, all my heart, and all my soul that she packs up her bag and leaves this damaged and hurt campus alone. We cannot handle another year with you. It will be my prerogative to expose everything I can in my last semester here, and I will not stop fighting until it is Chancellor Everts is the one turning in her key.

So with all due respect, I ask President Margaret Spellings, The Board of Governors, The Board of Trustees, and members of the Appalachian State community to stand with me in removing Sheri N. Everts from her duties effective immediately. This is the only way that our university can be saved.

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