West Liberty Board Rejects Contract Extension for President

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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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