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Stockton faculty condemn president

Less than a week after Stockton University president Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. announced his resignation, faculty released the results of a vote to condemn him and call for representation on the Board of Trustees.

Stockton University faculty and staff have voted to condemn the university's president and demand faculty representation on the Board of Trustees.

Last week's vote was released Monday, five days after president Herman J. Saatkamp Jr. announced he would step down amid controversy over the university's proposed Atlantic City campus.

"Members of the Faculty Assembly and the Stockton Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2275, therefore immediately demand two seats on the Stockton University Board of Trustees, and overwhelmingly affirm a lack of confidence in the ability of President Herman Saatkamp to lead Stockton University going forward," faculty and union leaders said in a news release.

The university had no comment, a spokeswoman said.

Faculty and staff voted to publicly denounce Saatkamp, who last week announced he would step down later this year, over his handling of the purchase of the former Showboat casino property. Plans to turn the property into an Atlantic City campus for the Galloway Township-based university have begun to crumble, thanks to a threatened legal challenge from the parent company of the Trump Taj Mahal casino next door.

Of 293 votes on a condemnation vote, a plurality, 97, voted "no confidence" and called for Saatkamp's resignation. Another 78 faculty and staff entered a "no confidence" vote without the resignation demand, and 67 votes were for a third option, to censure the president.

Of the 298 votes on whether to demand two faculty seats on the Stockton University Board of Trustees, 267 were in favor. The other 10 percent voted against the measure.

The referendum calls for one seat to be filled by a member of the Faculty Senate and another by a representative from the Stockton Federation of Teachers.

The vote took place from last Tuesday through Thursday, with the American Arbitration Association handling the online vote to maintain its neutrality.

Both resolutions were initially passed by the Faculty Assembly and Stockton Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2275, in a special joint meeting held April 14.

Saatkamp released a resignation letter last week saying he would step down sometime after Aug. 31. In the letter, which references the Showboat deal, Saatkamp said he still hoped Stockton would be able to create an "island campus" in Atlantic City.

Several faculty members said last week that they saw Saatkamp's resignation as an appropriate move, after a storm of criticism had built up over what they described as a lack of transparency over the Showboat campus and exclusion of faculty from governance.