By GRANT TRAYLOR
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — In recent months, Marshall University athletics has utilized the slogan “I Am Because We Are” as its catchphrase.
In the last few days, that slogan was put into action.
Marshall University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) released a statement Friday praising the university’s Faculty Senate for passing a resolution to oppose political interference in school operations.
“Thank you to our Faculty Senate and its support of our athletic program with yesterday’s resolution,” Kiekover’s statement said. “It is a worthy recognition that our athletic affairs are in order and that the appropriate individuals are leading our program.”
The Faculty Senate’s resolution was a pointed one, aimed at eliminating any interference or pressure from political personnel on the university’s day-to-day business.
The resolution comes days after reports surfaced about Gov. Jim Justice meeting with Marshall officials in an effort to persuade them to make changes within the Athletic Department, including the firing of Athletic Director Mike Hamrick and head football coach Doc Holliday.
In fact, the resolution called out Justice by name in its final paragraph.
The resolution said, “Be it resolved, the Faculty Senate of Marshall University requests that Governor Justice respect state and university governing institutions and organizations, including the Marshall University Board of Governors, administration, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association, and refrain from interfering in university operations in the absence of evidence of malfeasance by these entities.
The wording of the resolution was clear that such interference from political individuals or groups hinders the university’s ability to run in an orderly fashion.
It said, “Whereas, political interference in university management and operations, without evidence of administrative malfeasance, threatens a core principle of Marshall University’s Mission, which reads, ‘Marshall University will … support and strengthen the faculty, staff, student and administrative governance structures in order to promote shared governance of the institution.'”
Kiekover’s statement praising the Faculty Senate’s resolution went on to recount the successes of Marshall’s programs both on the field and in the classroom under Hamrick during her time as a student-athlete.
Those team highlights included a Conference USA championship and national ranking in football, sustained success with the volleyball program, championship game appearances in men’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, the softball program’s current record-setting year which has them on the verge of the Top 25 nationally and the 2016 baseball team coming within a half-game of a Conference USA regular-season baseball title.
Kiekover also noted a pair of individual accomplishments with Marshall softball’s Morgan Zerkle being named to Team USA and the Thundering Herd also having a swimmer (Sirena Rowe) qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time in 12 years.
“Without the expertise of those who run our department, we would not have accomplished as much as we have,” Kiekover’s statement said.
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