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West Liberty Board Rejects Contract Extension for President

August 19, 2022

The West Liberty University Board of Governors voted Wednesday not to renew President W. Franklin Evans’s contract for a third year, The Intelligencer reported.

Evans, West Liberty’s first Black president, assumed the job in 2021. But his tenure has been marred by accusations that he plagiarized several speeches, for which he later apologized.

After meeting in executive session for close to an hour, the board moved Wednesday to offer Evans a one-year extension on his contract to the end of 2023. But the motion failed in an 8-to-4 vote.

“Dr. Evans was hired two years ago with an 11-0 unanimous vote,” board chairman Rich Lucas told The Intelligencer. “We took a lot of time assessing his entire body of work over the last two years—we did his presidential assessment from the first year, faculty, staff, and community outreach. Each governor took that body of work and made their decision either to extend or renew his contract.”

Evans survived a similar vote last October, when the board decided 7 to 5 to keep him on but placed him on a disciplinary action plan. A week later, the West Liberty Faculty Senate voted no confidence in the president. Then in early November, the board voted unanimously to officially censure the president in response to the plagiarism charges.

The search for a new president will begin immediately. If the board does not find a replacement before Evans’s contract expires Dec. 31, an interim will be appointed, The Intelligencer reported.

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Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg is a senior editor at Inside Higher Ed. A career journalist and educator, she joined the publication in August 2021 after eight years in Vermont, where she freelanced and taught writing at Middlebury College and Champlain College. Prior to that, she spent 22 years writing and editing for Newsweek magazine, where she covered everything from international affairs to arts and culture. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and River Teeth, among others. She has taught English and journalism at Phillips Academy, where she served as an advisor to the student newspaper. She holds a B.A. in English from Brown University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia. The mother of three nearly adult children, she is very much enjoying her newly empty nest.

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