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BOT Hears Fall 2020 Semester Update, Approves FY21 Spending Plan

June 12, 2020

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – At today's Board of Trustees meeting held today (June 12) via teleconferencing, Interim President Martin Abraham updated trustees regarding plans for the Fall 2020 semester.

"WIU will be open with face-to-face instruction beginning August 24. We will be adjusting the numbers of seats in our classrooms to allow for proper social distancing, we are adjusting class schedules so that we do not have back-to-back sessions in the same room, we are encouraging faculty to develop hybrid models that will supplement in person instruction with virtual content. We are purchasing face coverings for all faculty, staff, and students, installing Plexiglas shields in areas of direct staff/student contact, and installing sanitizer stations throughout our campuses," Abraham told the Board. "We will accommodate faculty and students who have verified medical issues that have concerns with attending in person, and we have decided that we will run our semester straight through until Thanksgiving, and then deliver the remainder of the semester through alternative formats, so that students can remain at home in a safe environment without risk of contracting the virus in advance of the Christmas holiday. Of course, for those who do not have anywhere to go, or just need to take advantage of our University facilities, we will be here and provide access and resources to allow students to successfully finish the semester."

In Board action, trustees approved the University's Fiscal Year 2021 preliminary spending plan of $205.8 million. The plan must be prepared prior to July 1 for submission to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Legislature and the Governor.

In addition, the Board approved a contract for Martin Abraham to serve as interim president of Western Illinois University from July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, or until the new president is named and begins employment at WIU, whichever comes first. Abraham shall receive a base salary of $294,000. The Board will review the President's performance in the Spring 2021, if Abraham remains in position.

Interim Provost Billy Clow provided a report to trustees regarding new faculty and administrative hires.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to bring 22 new faculty and administrators on board as we continue to move the institution forward and broaden diversity at Western," Clow said. "Our newest members bring a broad depth of experience and knowledge, both nationally and internationally, to our University community and we're excited about the contributions they bring to WIU."

In other business, trustees approved a five-year contract with Sodexo for $60 million for University food services for the period of August 1, 2020 through July 31, 2025 with the option to renew for one additional five-year term. The Board approved a resolution granting Interim President Abraham authority to approve the University's digital marketing contract once all bids have been received, evaluated and approved by the Chief Procurement Office of Higher Education and Procurement Policy Board to enter into a contract with the awarded vendor. The bid solicitation opening date was June 11. The potential 10-year investment for digital marketing services is $3.5 million.

The Board also approved collective bargaining agreements with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council, and tenure and promotion recommendations for faculty members (see separate release). In addition, the Board elected officers for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Polly Radosh was re-elected chair, Doug Shaw was re-elected vice chair and Justin Brown was re-elected secretary. Student Trustee Justin Brown was re-elected by the student body to serve as Western's Board of Trustees student representative from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The full Board can be found at Kisha Lang was re-elected to serve on the State Universities Civil Service Merit Board.

Complete reports, including all action items and reports, can be found at The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held Sept. 23-24 (originally scheduled for Oct. 8-9) on the WIU-Macomb campus.

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