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Trustees issue statement to WMU community

Aug. 16, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees issued a statement to the University community today regarding the board's dual actions Tuesday of terminating the contract of President Judith I. Bailey and appointing Dr. Diether H. Haenicke as interim president, both effective immediately. The text of the trustees' message follows.

To Members of the University Community:

You now know that the Board of Trustees met yesterday and made the difficult but necessary decision to end President Judith Bailey's contract with WMU. Our move is effective immediately, and we wish Dr. Bailey success as she moves forward.

At the same meeting, we appointed Dr. Diether H. Haenicke to serve as interim president while we develop a team to launch a national search for a new president. We are grateful to Dr. Haenicke for agreeing to serve. It has been eight years since he stepped down as president, but he has remained closely connected to the campus community and is knowledgeable about every facet of the institution. Many of you know him well and are aware of his deep commitment to the University.

With Dr. Haenicke at the helm for the short run, we expect the institution to move forward without missing a beat. The fall semester is just weeks away, and our focus must be firmly fixed on what is most important--our students.

As a board, we will be working together to identify key short- and long-term institutional goals and to clearly articulate the leadership qualities the next president will possess. We will do so mindful of the fact that whoever leads WMU in the future will do so with the assistance and support of a talented faculty and staff. We will be asking you to help us articulate those important traits a new leader must have.

Colleges and universities are dynamic institutions in which changes in leadership are commonplace. The University is emerging from a difficult period, but has an incredibly strong future ahead of it. With excellent academic programs, a world-class faculty and supportive alumni and donors, all of us who are part of the WMU family should be optimistic about the coming months and years.

As a governing board, we are convinced that this is a University with unlimited potential. We believe the professionalism, passion, loyalty and dedication of those who claim membership in the University family are what sets Western Michigan University apart from lesser institutions. With the support of our students, alumni, faculty, staff and community well-wishers, this University will continue its progress forward and provide the kind of service to Michigan citizens that has always been its hallmark.

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

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