The Alumni Council of Western Illinois University has passed a resolution calling for the university president to resign.
The resolution, which passed overwhelmingly in a special session held last week, asked the university Board of Trustees to terminate the contract of President Jack Thomas by the end of the month if he does not resign.
In recent weeks, calls for a leadership change at WIU have grown louder. Also last week the Executive Committee of the WIU Foundation released a unanimous letter demanding Thomas’s termination as well as the reinstatement of a recently fired university executive, Brad Bainter.
In the resolution, the Alumni Council suggested the university suffers from a “lack of direction and floundering leadership” as well as severe problems, including “declining enrollment, funding shortfalls, arduous negotiations with collective bargaining units, and the departure of several senior leaders from the university.”
The resolution asked the Board of Trustees to “hold the university leadership accountable to develop a plan immediately to put the university on a path that will enable growth and financial security, making whatever changes are necessary to reach that goal[.]”
Approved on June 6 by a 15-2 vote, the resolution was sent to the WIU Board of Trustees the following day and released to the public on Monday morning, said John Sanders, Alumni Council president, who also signed the resolution.
“Only through these actions will we re-establish the footing necessary to ensure the success and future of the university for generations to come,” the resolution concluded.
The Alumni Council represents the interests of the university’s more than 135,000 members and liaises with the university, according to its website.
The WIU Board of Trustees will meet in closed session on Thursday, and in open meeting on Friday, at Brophy Hall Gym, in Macomb.
In a statement to the Dispatch-Argus, Darcie Shinberger, executive director of university communications at WIU, declined to comment further.
"Personnel matters are ultimately the responsibility of the WIU Board of Trustees; therefore, we have no further comment on matters involving personnel," Shinberger said. "We do ask that everyone join together to focus on the future of our university and our communities."