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Trustees decide to end Bailey's contract

Aug. 15, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Acting at a special meeting today, Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees voted to terminate the contract of President Judith I. Bailey, effective immediately.

In related action, trustees voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Diether H. Haenicke as interim president while a search for a new president is carried out. Haenicke was WMU's fifth president, serving from 1985 through 1998.

The board's decision for termination was carried with five trustees voting in favor of the move and two abstaining. An eighth member of the board was absent from the meeting. The vote to appoint Haenicke as interim president was unanimous.

James Holden, chair of the board, expressed trustees' gratitude to Haenicke for agreeing to take the position. He cited Haenicke's intellect, ability to reach out to the rest of the University and skill at setting strategic priorities as traits that will help in the coming months.

Holden said he did not take the decision to recommend Bailey's termination lightly, but felt it necessary after negotiation with the president over a resignation broke down in recent days. In his motion for termination, he cited unsatisfactory performance and breach of contract.

In a prepared statement, Bailey laid out a list of accomplishments over the past three years and told trustees she is still the person who has the skill and commitment to lead the University.

Bailey became seventh president in 2003. She came to the University from Northern Michigan University, where she had served as president since 1997.

She also has held leadership positions at the University of Maine, the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland, and faculty posts at George Mason University and the University of Maryland.

By gubernatorial appointment, Dr. Bailey serves as a member of Michigan's Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board. She also leads the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, a group composed of the presidents of Michigan's 15 public universities.

Haenicke stepped down from the presidency in 1998 and taught in the Department of Foreign Languages until his retirement at the end of 2004. He has remained in Kalamazoo and is active in the community.

Prior to becoming president of WMU, he served as provost and academic vice president at both Wayne State and Ohio State universities.

Related articles

Trustees and former president reach agreement

President Haenicke returns to lead WMU

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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