One of those staff members said they have been in discussion with the regional representative for the Alabama Education Association in an attempt to solicit a vote of “no confidence” from the group regarding the job performance of McNutt. He declined to name the AEA representative who was involved in these discussions.
He said no formal request had been made of AEA as of press time.
Amy Marlowe, staff consultant for the Postsecondary Division of AEA at the state level, said she was unaware of any request to her department, but said those requests are usually handled locally and rarely rise to the state level.
McNutt has been the president of Bevill State for five years.
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey was willing to talk on the record about his concerns and the concerns of several staff and faculty members that he has met with over the last few months.
Posey said, in addition to employees of Bevill State, he has spoken to the area representative to the state board of education, the postsecondary chancellor, community leaders and members of the Walker College Foundation. He said he is concerned about Bevill State and the future of the Jasper campus in particular because of its importance to the community.
“It’s time for a change, and I don’t mean in a month or two or three,” Posey said. “I mean an immediate change in the administration at Bevill State.”
Posey and the faculty members pointed to enrollment numbers that have dipped to approximately half of what they were in 2010.
In fall 2010, the Jasper campus of Bevill State had 1,016 students registered. At that same time, the Sumiton campus had 1,389 students registered. For the spring 2014 semester, Jasper has 566 students registered and Sumiton has 895.
“Enrollment has dropped in the country for the last two years, not at every single college, but at most of them,” McNutt said.
She said there were three main reasons for the decline: a declining population in Bevill State’s service area, tough economic times and changes to Pell Grant, which limited the number of students with access to funding as well as the length of time they could use the funding.
McNutt also pointed to the partnerships formed with local boards of education, the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, the Industrial Development Board and others to allow high school students to enroll in and gain college credit while still in high school, as well as efforts to increase industrial training and development opportunities for students. She also said there were industrial partnerships in the works that couldn’t be released publicly at press time.
Posey said he understands that each Bevill campus will be asking for a vote of “no confidence” regarding McNutt in the near future, but declined to name an exact timeline for the proposed vote.
McNutt said she was unaware of any such vote and was looking toward the future and her plans to remain at Bevill State.
“I’m focused on the future,” McNutt said. “I’m focused on student success. I’m focused on creating partnerships like those I just talked to you about and those in industry that I’m not at liberty to talk about currently.”