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The "Crisis of Confidence" series is a multi-year effort by the Tri States Public Radio to document the impact the two-year state budget impasse had on Western Illinois University and the ongoing recovery efforts at WIU. State support for public higher education institutions has been steadily declining in Illinois for more than a decade. But the issue was compounded, during the state's historic two-year budget impasse during Fiscal Years '16 and '17 which left public colleges and universities with little state financial support. At Western Illinois University, that drastic cut in state appropriations resulted in significant budget cuts, employee furloughs, and layoffs.

More Changes Coming to WIU Board

Western Illinois University

Two more members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees say they will be leaving the board.

At the end of the December 14 BoT meeting in Macomb, Chairperson Carolyn Ehlert Fuller and Roger Clawson both announced will not seek reappointment when their terms expire next month.

“Foremost in everything that we’ve tried to do have been our efforts to ensure that students receive the finest education available,” said Ehlert Fuller, reading from a prepared statement.

“And I strongly support you, President (Jack) Thomas, and your leadership team, the faculty, and the staff as you guide the university to ever-greater accomplishments.”

Ehlert Fuller said she plans to head into fulltime retirement. She said she will “always be keenly interested in WIU as I watch from the sidelines” after 20 years on the BoT.

Ehlert Fuller and Clawson are both from the Quad Cities.  Clawson said he served six years as a trustee.  “It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.

The announcements from Ehlert Fuller and Clawson mean there will be at least five new people coming to the eight-member BoT.

Three seats are already vacant:

  • Lyneir Cole of Chicago resigned this month because he is a state employee. Illinois law does not allow state workers to serve on university boards.
  • Former chairperson Cathy Early of Macomb resigned in November after the Illinois Attorney General’s office ruled the board violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act while Early was chairperson.  
  • The university said Steven Nelson’s temporary appointment was withdrawn by the governor in June. Nelson is from the Quad Cities.

The board’s current vice chairperson is Yvonne Savala, who resides in the Quad Cities. Her term expires next month but she intends to seek reappointment.
Board secretary Todd Lester’s term is scheduled to continue until 2023. He is from Macomb.

The other trustee is student board member Justin Brown. Students serve one year terms on the BoT.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.