WMU President Judy Bailey has been fired! The Board of Trustees gave her the ax at a closed door meeting at noon today. Here is the story from Mlive:
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) Western Michigan University's board of trustees fired Judith I. Bailey as president on Tuesday, saying she failed to adequately address enrollment declines and rising costs. The board took its action eight months after it extended Bailey's contract.Apparently, she doesn't intend to go quietly.
The board had offered Bailey a one-year buyout of the remainder of her contract, which ran through June 30, 2009. The buyout was worth about $400,000 in total compensation. But Bailey rejected the offer and was fired.
"I believe that Western Michigan University deserves a president who has the skill and commitment to lead the university through this difficult period," Bailey said, reading aloud from a written statement during the trustee's special meeting. "I believe I am that person. There are those who disagree. I have a contract with the university. I expect that contract to be honored."
Diether Haenicke, who served as Western Michigan's president from 1985 until he retired in 1998, was appointed interim president while the board starts a national search for Bailey's replacement.
Bailey took over as president July 1, 2003, after serving as president of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.
Western Michigan was founded in 1903 and has about 26,000 students enrolled in 141 undergraduate and 90 graduate programs.
The meeting was unscheduled and was announced late yesterday. Here is the Gazette story announcing the meeting. Rumors swirled that she would be fired.
Exactly why she was fired is somewhat unclear. The board listed the usual complaints of declining enrollment, poor management, and widespread discontent. Just eight months ago, the board had extended her contract. The major controversy since then has been the graduate review fiasco, and the resulting furor amongst graduate students and faculty.
Regular readers of this blog will know that the WMU College Republicans are not fans of Bailey.
Here is my evaluation of Bailey from April.
Linda Delene resigned in May over controversy surrounding the graduate program review.
WMU College Republicans in particular dislike Bailey for two reasons. One is the failure to prosecute the lowlife and self-described "national socialist" who attacked Pat Buchanan when we brought him to Western to speak in April 2005. The university talked a good game about free speech, but it failed to adequately respond to the assault and intimidation of a speaker with a different viewpoint.
The second reason is the illegal immigrant scholarship. The "first step scholars" program was created by Bailey and is funded out of private donations. It gives $6500 per semester scholarships specifically for illegal immigrants, so that they pay the equivalent of in-state tuition. It is a way of avoiding a federal law that bans giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Hopefully, this scholarship will follow Bailey out of Western.
Diether Haenicke, the excellent former President of Western and friend of the WMU College Republicans has been appointed as interim President.