As the University of Arizona works to dig out of a $177 million deficit, the universitys Faculty Senate and the Arizona Board of Regents are now in a bitter back-and-forth that escalated this week.

Thursdays ABOR meeting in Tempe turned up the tension between the two bodies.

During Mondays Faculty Senate meeting, UArizona Faculty Chair Leila Hudson suggested ABOR Chair Fred DuVal had a potential conflict of interest in his role.

According to DuVals LinkedIn profile, he used to work as Managing Director at Amicus Investors, a company providing financial services for universities. He worked in that role after his first stint as ABOR chair and before his current stint.

DuVal insisted neither the job nor the timing led to a conflict of interest, calling that claim intentional defamation. He said he has retained a lawyer and will pursue legal remedies.

This crossed a line, he said of Hudsons criticism. I refuse to be a punching bag.

DuVal then delivered his own criticism of Hudson.

Dr. Hudson has inflicted a terrible blow to shared governance, which frankly works so well at the other two universities, he said. The caliber of academic research skills that were demonstrated here are rather concerning. I frankly now doubt the accuracy and the credibility of any one of the many accusations being made against the university and the president.

DuVal added that the UA faculty has important, legitimate concerns, and he will respond to every call or email.

ABOR treasurer Lyndel Manson doubled down, criticizing the entire UA Faculty Senate, whose behavior, she says, has been of concern to the Regents for a number of years.

Were frankly unsure of how representative this body is of the greater faculty at U of A, she said during the meeting. Most view [the Faculty Senate] as a monumental waste of time and energy. Watching this senate try to run a meeting is an exercise in futility. It is embarrassing, the level of dysfunction on display, and the lack of any productive recommendations or outcomes.

Manson says the Senate is confrontational and trying to expand its authority well outside what is normal. She encouraged UA president Robert Robbins to establish new faculty leadership.

Hudson’s attorney, Jesse Ritchey, tells KGUN 9 she “was exercising her constitutional rights and fulfilling her legal obligations when she raised these issues of public concern. Shes now in the process of evaluating her various legal options.

In terms of the financial crisis, DuVal reiterated during the meeting ABORs plan to not raise tuition or impact current students, and to cut costs from the top first.