OHIO COUNTY, W. Va. (WTRF)
Dr. W. Franklin Evans is responding to the results of a survey of University faculty members and others.
Although it was supposed to be confidential, someone leaked the results to the media.
And they show distrust of the president, and the belief that he doesn’t listen to their concerns.
The survey showed that many faculty members doubt Dr. Evans’ integrity.
Perhaps it goes back to the plagiarism complaints.
“So did I quote something without giving the source? Yes,” Dr. Evans said. “Did I acknowledge that? Yes. So it wasn’t anything that I was trying to hide.”
He wrote a letter of apology to the University.
Yet there are still complaints about his integrity.
“I think what was upsetting to some people is that it wasn’t the opportunity for an I Gotcha moment, because I took the thrill away by being the first to say I apologize,” he noted.
Another complaint from the survey indicated that he doesn’t listen to the faculty.
“There are faculty members who, even when I’m in their presence and we’ve having a conversation, they won’t share,” Dr. Evans said. “They won’t share anything. But as soon as I leave, they’ve got a lot to say. A lot that’s negative. And that’s disappointing.”
He says he’s blamed for things no one ever mentioned.
“How did I know that in your office, the heat is not working?” he asked.
So what is the source of the animosity?
It is because he is the first African American president of the school?
“I really think it falls on that four-letter word,” he answered. “The reason I’m viewed very differently than others.”
Is that four-letter word “race”?
“Most definitely,” he responded. “Most definitely. I’m not one to play the race card. I’ve never been one to do that. But when the question comes up and I’m asked about it, I’ll certainly say yes.”
He said he knows people don’t embrace change, but there are issues to face.
He says enrollment has gone down, and the University had a deficit last year.
He says they’ve got to spend their money more wisely, and he knows these aren’t messages that people like to hear.
“When you’ve got fewer students, you don’t need to have more employees,” Dr. Evans said. “So now we have to look at streamlining and doing some right-sizing. And those are bad words on campus. They were taken to be very negative, resented. People don’t like the idea that I’m even talking about having to do some cuts and streamlining.”
He says people think that means he’s not concerned about them or what they’re doing.
He says it’s just the opposite.
He says he’s concerned about the stability of the institution.
His contract is up at the end of the year.
He said he focuses on doing the job well, and not on the contract.
There is a special meeting Friday of the Board of Governors at 10 a.m. to discuss the ongoing assessment of Dr. Evans.
Rich Lucas, chairman of the WLU Board of Governors, said they’ll be finished with Dr. Evans’ evaluation and assessment sometime in June.
The faculty senate president said they have no comment.