As an example of a vote of no confidence, recently, the academic world has been shocked by the Salaita case at the University of Illinois. I happen to be a UIUC alumnus, so I guess I'm more concerned about the current state of affairs in my Alma Mater. So I just read an article on the web about the case: More Votes of No Confidence, a Weird Ad, and a Declaration of a Non-Emergency. The article states that
Tonight, the major news out of the University of Illinois is that two more departments have taken votes of no confidence in the leadership of the UIUC: the department of history (nearly unanimous, I’m told) and the department of Latino and Latina Studies. The latter’s announcement reads:
The faculty of the Department of Latina/Latino Studies (LLS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign met on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 to discuss the University’s revocation of an offer of employment to Dr. Steven Salaita. We concluded that this revocation and the subsequent public statements by Chancellor Phyllis Wise, President Robert Easter, and the Board of Trustees about Dr. Salaita’s appointment demonstrate a clear disregard for the principles of academic freedom, free speech, and shared governance, as well as for established protocols for hiring, tenure, and promotion. The faculty of LLS therefore declares that we have no confidence in the leadership of the current Chancellor, President, and Board of Trustees.
That means that six departments have now voted no confidence, two of them fairly large departments, representing a significant number of faculty in the humanities. Word is that we should be expecting at least four more votes of no confidence by the end of the week, for a total of ten.
I know the best thing that can happen in the current state of affairs is that UIUC's own faculty boycott the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Phyllis Wise.
So my general question is, what are the implications of such a vote? What does a "vote of no confidence" really mean?
As suggested by @MadJack, here's the New York Times article on the case of Salaita.