A flash mob gathered on the Illinois State University Quad protesting the secret way the Presidency of Tim Flanagan ended with a payout. Chris Roehl is a student organizer....
"We shouldn't be a university that's afraid of lawsuits. We have integrity as students and we hope the board has integrity as well."
ISU Spokesman Jay Groves says the board was faced with three unsavory choices, pay Flanagan the entire contract, fight it out with him in another venue, or settle. Roehl says even though it may have been less expensive to settle, that does not reflect the campus value of openness.
"We don't think it's fair that a man who allegedly assaulted another employee gets half a million dollars to make this thing go quiet."
Groves says the payout money came from the university contingency fund that does not include taxpayer or tuition dollars. It comes from contractual fees and other sources of income. Roehl says they recognize Flanagan's half million dollar payout is a done deal, but they are asking new University President Larry Dietz to sign a new contract offering him no payout if the presidency does not work out.
ISU Spokesman Jay Groves says ISU was the only one of three public universities in Illinois last year to have open interviews with campus constituencies
"Of the three presidential contracts, Illinois State's was by far the most modest and did not include tenure. So that, I think speaks a little bit to frugality and openness."
Groves says ISU was the only one of three such university searches to have public sessions with the finalists.
Protestors say they also want Trustees Chairman Michael McCuskey to resign for backing Flanagan's hiring and for the way the departure was handled.
"We would like all the members of the Board of Trustees to take responsibility for their actions. So if it is a resignation from Michael McCuskey, that will do that, admitting fault or a formal apology. Somewhere along those lines, we would like accountability and acknowledgment of their actions and their failure."
Groves says McCuskey is a busy Federal Judge but will make a statement and address issues at the May meeting of the Board. The protestors also want fired head of grounds Patrick Murphy rehired. Groves says that is a personnel issue and the board of trustees deals with only one hire, the President.
"Personnel issues are confidential for a reason. It protects the prospective employee also.So, those are kept confidential, but they have nothing to do with the board."
Groves says ISU encourages student involvement and engagement, but he takes the protestors to task for a lack of fair inquiry.
I have actually reached out to several of the student organizers through e-mail asking them, you know I would love to come and talk to faculty staff, students, whoever you want, and no one has responded or invited me to come to talk to anybody."
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