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Higher Education Policy Commission To Consult on Disciplinary Action for West Liberty University President W. Franklin Evans

W. FRANKLIN EVANS

WEST LIBERTY — The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission is ready to assist the West Liberty University Board of Governors in its next steps in punishing President W. Franklin Evans for plagiarizing sections of several speeches he has made as WLU president.

The final decision on that punishment, though, will come from the BOG.

After narrowly avoiding being fired in a Wednesday BOG vote — the board voted 7-5 to keep him in his role — Evans will face some disciplinary action. After the vote, WLU BOG chair Rich Lucas said he would enlist the HEPC’s help in that endeavor.

“Detailed items will be developed with the assistance of the Higher Ed Policy Commission, (their) human resources department, and the board of governors will meet all disciplinary actions,” Lucas said. “The HEPC, I will ask their assistance in getting disciplinary action together.”

The HEPC develops and oversees a public policy agenda for West Virginia’s four-year colleges and universities. It serves as a support source for those institutions and their students in subjects like academic affairs, human resources, legal services, student affairs and others.

The commission provides support, but won’t have a final say in what disciplinary actions will be taken.

“The Commission supports our college and university boards of governors on a variety of issues; however, statutorily, governing boards must follow their own policies to determine any disciplinary or personnel decisions regarding their presidents,” the HEPC said in a statement. “West Liberty University’s board has reached out to us, and we will provide them assistance as they determine next steps on this matter.”

The West Liberty BOG has met twice to discuss the accusations against Evans and his future. In the first meeting, it voted to have the university’s human resources department research into and provide several aspects of the accusations.

The second meeting this past Wednesday was conducted mostly behind closed doors and led to both the vote that kept Evans in his post and set in motion a process to design disciplinary action.

Evans was accused by faculty and students of lifting sections of at least three speeches he had given as WLU president without providing proper attribution. Evans had previously apologized to the university and its BOG in a letter. He said this week that he was ready to accept whatever discipline the BOG decided to carry out.

“I am grateful to the Board of Governors for giving me the opportunity to continue to serve as president of West Liberty University,” Evans said in a statement released through the university, “and I look forward to completing whatever actions and steps it deems appropriate to move the university forward in carrying out the vision and mission of this great institution.”

No time frame was given as to when disciplinary action would be decided.

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