Update: Western Illinois University President Dr. Jack Thomas will step down from his position officially on June 30th.
The announcement was made at a meeting on Friday, June 14. In a statement, Dr. Thomas said he believes at this time the university "would best be served by new leadership."
The Board of Trustees voted to allow Dr. Thomas to move to administrative leave for two years. During that time he will receive his full presidential salary and will have the option to return to the school as a faculty member.
Dr. Thomas' decision to step down comes after the university's alumni council called for his resignation.
"You certainly came at a very critical time," said WIU Alumni Council President John Sanders. "But, you are showing, not by your talk, not by your rhetoric but by your action, that you are serious about the future of Western because, that's what its all about. We will not talk our way out of this, we will not cut our way out of it, but we can grow our way out of it."
The Board of Trustees is now tasked with finding a new president.
Original: MACOMB, Illinois-- The Western Illinois University Alumni Council is now calling for University President Dr. Jack Thomas to resign from his position by June 30, 2019.
In a resolution made public on Monday, June 10, 2019, the council highlights reasons why they are calling for President Thomas to resign, saying the university has been "severely impacted in recent years by declining enrollment, funding shortfalls, arduous negotiations with collective bargaining units, and the departure of several senior leaders." They go on to say actions have been too slow and indecisive in addressing issues and that stakeholders have publicly feuded to the detriment of public relations and internal morale.
The Council wants President Thomas to resign by June 30, and if he doesn't, they want the Board of Trustees to terminate his contract.
Going forward, the council wants streamlined academic offerings and investment in programs. They want to allocate resources as needed by reducing investment in programs with low enrollment, and they want investment in recruitment and marketing.
The resolution passed with a 15-2 vote. It's signed by Alumni Council President John Sanders.