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New Deal Negotiated Between WIU and Former President Thomas

JackThomas-Aug2016-02.jpg
Rich Egger
/
Former WIU President Jack Thomas at his desk in 2016.

A new settlement agreement is in the works between Western Illinois University and its former president, Dr. Jack Thomas.

Thomas stepped down as WIU president at the end of June 2019 in what was called a two-year administrative leave.

Terms of the leave called for Thomas to receive his presidential salary of $270,000 each of the next two years (through June 30, 2020), and then be paid not less than $300,000 to teach one class per semester in the tenured position of Distinguished Service Professor.

The first two years have passed and now, according to the new agreement, WIU and Thomas have “a significant dispute” over terms of the 2019 document, “…namely the nature of the assignment, the location of teaching, and duration of the employment.” The new agreement states both sides have threatened contract action and Thomas has raised claims of discrimination.

To settle the dispute, the new agreement calls for Western to pay $900,000 to Thomas. The document said Thomas would receive $80,000 of that in a single payment for alleged lost wages. The rest ($820,000) would go, in a single payment, to the Montgomery, Alabama-based law firm Strickland and Kendall LLC for non-wage compensatory payments, attorneys’ fees, and legal expenses.

The agreement also calls for Thomas to resign from WIU, including the Distinguished Service Professor position, and it says the 2019 agreement is terminated.

The new document says neither side admits to any wrongdoing.

Western’s Board of Trustees members will be asked to approve the document Monday evening (August 2) when they meet for their annual retreat. The gathering is being held at WIU’s riverfront campus in the Quad Cities. UPDATE: The board approved the agreement and a university spokesperson said Thomas has signed the document.

The document says Thomas will have “…at least 21 days after being presented with this Agreement in which to consider whether to sign it.”

Thomas is now president of Central State University in Ohio. He began that job in July 2020.

You can read the new settlement agreement here

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.
 

Rich is TSPR's News Director.