"This is an unpleasant truth," said Kenneth Peter, who serves on the Academic Senate. "In my 24 years at SJSU ... I have never heard such widespread and deep concern about the direction in which the campus appears to be heading."
The resolution, which passed on Monday by a vote of 38-2 with five abstentions, does not name SJSU President Mo Qayoumi or anyone else within the administration. Its authors stressed that it was not a vote of no-confidence in the president or an attempt to remove him from office.
The CSU chancellor's office is expected to take up the review. SJSU Academic Senate Chairwoman Lynda Heiden said a timeline would be announced by semester's end.
Qayoumi emotionally spoke to the faculty about his passion for education, saying his presidency was more than a career for him; he grew up in Afghanistan, and his mother didn't have the opportunity to go to school.
"Good governance requires transparency and accountability, and the basis of that is good communication," Qayoumi said. "Within that spirit, I welcome the resolution. I certainly support it."
In an interview afterward, the president said the campus had major issues -- including a $32 million budget deficit -- that had not been addressed before his arrival in 2011.
"We need to come to grips with them," he said, and the outside help "will hopefully bring us together."
Although the resolution doesn't list specific complaints, recent confusion over the campus' budget brought into view concerns about communication and a lack of faculty consultation.
Some department heads said they were told in late October, shortly before students were to register for spring courses, that they were overspending and needed to make deep cuts -- immediately. Qayoumi later reversed the directive, saying he would fill the $3.8 million budget hole with one-time funds earmarked for facilities and other uses.
Students found themselves caught in the middle of the budget confusion. Junior Taylor Rush said she hoped the chancellor's review would stabilize the campus. "It's kind of unsettling as a student to not know the certainty of the school," she said.
Online education initiatives embraced by the campus president -- such as partnerships with online education startups edX and Udacity -- have been another source of controversy. This spring, philosophy professors published a protest against one such initiative: an offer to use a Harvard professor's videotaped lectures in their classes.
Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.