West Liberty BoG meets amid controversy, will conclude assessment of President Evans by June

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. — West Liberty University’s Board of Governors met Friday and discussed the status of President W. Franklin Evans.

The special meeting came after the result of an employee survey at the university showed over 80% of respondents said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the state “I am confident in the integrity of President (W.Franklin) Evans,” which was first reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

After calling the meeting to order and pursuant to West Virginia Code section 6-9A-4, Chairman Rich Lucas requested a motion to retire to Executive Session. The motion was made and passed unanimously.

Upon emerging from the two-hour Executive Session, Chairman Rich Lucas gave the following statement:

“The Board of Governors would like to just remind everyone who works here that we are a public university committed to providing students with a comprehensive education from undergraduate to advanced degrees while serving as the region’s leading advocate for the arts, education, research, and economic opportunity.

“As we move forward, we expect our faculty and staff to be professional, unified and work together to achieve our mission. We also expect our President to lead us and unify the campus. The Board of Governors is solely responsible for the President’s performance, and while we value the feedback from all constituents, that input is only a portion of the President’s assessment.

“The Board of Governors is confident we will conclude our 1st year assessment of President Dr. Evans by the middle of this June. We had a very productive Executive Session today and we appreciate everyone’s patience and time.”

The meeting ended with a unanimous vote for adjournment.

W. Franklin Evans

In November, the West Liberty Board of Governors voted unanimously to publicly censure Evans following plagiarism allegations. In the month before that vote, West Liberty’s Faculty Senate concluded that Evans committed plagiarism in multiple instances, including a recent convocation speech.

Evans was named West Liberty’s 37th president and first African-American in that role in November 2020.

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