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Embattled West Virginia State president makes 2 leadership hires

INSTITUTE, W.Va. — West Virginia State University President Nicole Pride announced a pair of leadership appointments Tuesday, including a new provost, as the university’s board of governors considers a letter from other members of Pride’s leadership team calling for her removal as president.

Nicole Pride

In separate news releases, WVSU said Ericke Cage had been named vice president and chief of staff while Dr. J. Paige Carney is now the school’s new interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Carney has been the dean of WVSU’s College of Professional Studies since 2015 and interim associate provost since last fall. Her appointment is effective immediately.

The release didn’t say what happened to Dr. Sharon Warren Cook who was hired as provost by Pride last November. Cook was one of five members of Pride’s leadership team who signed a letter on July 14 calling for Pride’s removal so an investigation could begin into her presidency.

MORE See letter here

“Condescending and abusive language are common in exchanges with Dr. Pride,” the group wrote in the letter.

And, “Dr. Pride is known for her retaliatory practices.”

Pride was hired last summer and is WVSU’s first woman president.

Dr. J. Paige Carney

In Tuesday’s news release, Carney called Pride “a strong leader who cares deeply about the university.”

Carney said she looked forward to working with Pride and her leadership team.

Cage, according to a separate news release, will serve as “the principal aide and adviser to the president, representing the president to internal and external constituencies, and in collaboration with other members of the president’s executive cabinet, will be responsible for planning, organizing, and guiding the initiatives and activities of the president as they relate to the internal operations and external relationships of the university.”

Pride said Cage “will be a critical member of the university’s leadership team and play a vital role in collaboration with my executive cabinet in leading key initiatives, and implementation of the university’s new strategic plan. His experiences as a leader in both higher education and on Capitol Hill will be invaluable as the university continues to position itself as a leader in meeting the economic and social needs of the state, region, and nation.”

Ericke Cage

Cage has held numerous positions in higher education and government.

Meanwhile, the WVSU BOG is scheduled to meet Friday. The agenda says the meeting is to “address a personnel matter.” The board met in executive session for five hours on July 16 but announced no decisions had been made.

BOG Chairman Chuck Jones previously told the Charleston Gazette-Mail the BOG takes the letter from the leadership team seriously.

“We are inquiring about it. We’re doing an investigation,” Jones told the newspaper.

MetroNews has learned an open faculty forum was held Monday to discuss the “no confidence” letter from the cabinet. The WVSU Faculty Senate may meet later this week.

MetroNews also reached out to WVSU concerning details about Cook’s departure and is still awaiting a response.

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