‘I’m not done’: WTAMU’s Walter Wendler addresses no-confidence vote

West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler. Courtesy WTAMU/Background: J....
West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler. Courtesy WTAMU/Background: J. Nguyen—commonswiki
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2023 at 10:49 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - West Texas A&M’s President, Doctor Walter Wendler, broke his silence after the controversial drag show cancellation.

Dr. Wendler was unable to speak directly about the drag show because of pending litigation but was able to address the document regarding the WT faculty’s ‘no confidence’ vote.

Wendler says the points against him were misleading and incorrect and none of the issues were brought to his attention before the email was sent out.

“Well, I was a little disappointed because I think we are doing a good job and my concerns centered around the fact that the document itself was, it was less than straightforward in how it characterized things,” says Wendler.

Walter Wendler became WT’s president seven years ago, his main goal was to do his best at representing the students and the university as a whole, with dignity and respect. To instill pride in the community so that WT can “serve the Panhandle first.

He assures that he is not done with his mission.

The past several weeks have been challenging for Wendler but he says the most important aspect of the controversy is that students come first.

“That’s my sort of mantra, I want to make sure we serve the Panhandle first. I did that the day I’ve gotten here, I’ll do it the last day that I’m here and the last day that I am going to be here, I don’t know when that is going to be, but I don’t intend to leave. I have no intention of leaving,” stated Wendler.

He says he’s excited for the future of WT and says the university is achieving tremendous success, not just with fundraising.

According to Wendler, in two weeks they will announce that WT reached a $125 million dollar fundraising goal, the largest in the history of West Texas A&M University.

Wendler has received over 2,000 emails on the matter and the majority of them were positive, with 95 percent sanding by him. However, he’s also received some of the nastiest emails he has ever seen.

“Canceling the student fundraiser was a catalyst. The resolution that accompanied the vote outlined a number of issues that were raised in regard to current leadership from falling enrollment to suggesting that students go to institutions other than the WT to stagnant faculty wages in a time of rising inflation and increasing administrator salaries,” says Ashley Pinkham, Faculty Senate President of West Texas A&M University. “There were many issues that were brought up in the resolution,”

Walter Wendler reacts to various complaints about his leadership.

“There was a concern that I was telling people to go to community college instead of coming to WT, not true. What I said was . . . ‘if you have to borrow money to come to WT you should think about a community college and don’t borrow money there.’”

He says when it comes to enrollment, WT is not the only university suffering right now.

“Our enrollments are off a little bit but enrollments across the nation are off twice what ours are off. The numbers are there,” said Wendler.

The resolution mentions Wendler has infringed on the academic freedom of faculty, by moving WT toward becoming the first textbook-free campus.

“I told them I would be pleased to see that because it would help reduce costs to students, which helps reduce indebtedness; and the fact of the matter is in 10 years, we’re not going to have textbooks the way we have. They’re not going to be there, stats Wendler.

“No confidence votes are nonbinding and they are largely symbolic. Faculty senate hopes, however, that this vote will place pressure on the Texas A&M system, particularly because over two-thirds of faculty have expressed that they are not confident in current leadership,” said Pinkham.

Wendler says he will continue to keep the university moving forward.

“You couldn’t get me out of here with a crowbar, I’ve got my plate full that’s why I can’t leave. I’m not done.”