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WIU Board Chair Accepts No Confidence Vote Passed

Tim Schroll/WIU

The Western Illinois University’s Board of Trustees will discuss a no confidence vote taken by the faculty at its next meeting.

The Faculty Senate tallied the vote results on Friday. Of the 506 ballots sent out, 181 were not returned. Of those faculty who did vote, 33% (109 members) said they have confidence in the administrative leadership and 65% (213 members) said they do not have confidence.

Board of Trustees Chair Cathy Early was quick to issue a statement on Friday stating that the referendum failed to reach a majority considering that 35% (181 members) opted to not cast a ballot.

Later Friday evening, Faculty Senate President Dr. Steven Rock emailed Tri States Public Radio to provide clarity writing that the vote had passed with a majority. The Faculty Senate based their ruling off the number of faculty who voted, not those eligible to vote.

Early told Tri States Public Radio’s on Monday that she accepts the results.
“When the Faculty Senate said, ‘no, we are going based on votes cast’ then that’s accepted, by me, as a vote of no confidence,” Early said.

Early added that the number of faculty who voted no confidence is significant no matter how you look at the results.

“I believe a message was sent and received whether we are going to be counting based on total votes cast or total faculty,” Early said. 

The vote was largely symbolic. But, Early said it will be presented to the Board and discussed at the next meeting.

University Spokeswoman Darcie Shinberger told Tri States Public Radio that Western’s President Jack Thomas is not available to comment on the no confidence vote.

The ballot question did not name anyone in particular but rather asked the faculty if they have confidence in the administrative leadership at Western.

UPDATE: The next meeting of the BOT will be a special closed session meeting at 6 p.m. this Thursday, April 5 in Sherman Hall 205.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held Thursday-Friday June 7-8 at the WIU-Quad Cities campus.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.