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The West Liberty University Board of Governors voted unanimously Wednesday to publicly censure W. Franklin Evans, president of the university, in response to several instances of plagiarism in the president’s speeches.

“According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of censure is an official, strong criticism and severe disapproval,” said Rich Lucas, chairman of the board. “This public censure will be placed into the permanent record of the minutes of the Board of Governors meeting of West Liberty University.”

The special meeting followed a decision by the board last month not to fire Evans and to take some disciplinary action against him at a later date. The board also laid out a plan Wednesday to help Evans rebuild trust with students and employees.

The Faculty Senate voted no confidence in Evans last week and presented several suggestions to the board prior to Wednesday’s meeting. The Senate suggested that Evans not be involved in personnel decisions such as hiring, firing, tenure and promotion, to “establish a professional and ethical environment where staff and faculty feel free to voice candid, but professional perspectives,” Sean Ryan, chair of the Senate, wrote in an email.

The Senate also recommended that the board ask Evans to work with the Senate Policy Committee to draft an academic integrity policy that applies to all employees. The board adopted this recommendation Wednesday.

“The Board of Governors now believes it is time for West Liberty to take a step forward and face the many challenges that all universities across the country are dealing with,” Lucas said.

Evans apologized in a statement after the meeting Wednesday.

"I have expressed regret for the mistakes that I have made and am taking this opportunity to once again apologize to the university community," Evans wrote. "Please note that I am unable to address any specificities pertaining to issues handled by the board pertaining to me as they are personnel matters. With that in mind, I am determined to move forward and humbly ask for the West Liberty family to join me in doing so."

He then summarized a variety of initiatives and happenings on the West Liberty campus this semester.