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New Deal Negotiated Between WIU and Former President Thomas

Former WIU President Jack Thomas at his desk in 2016.
Rich Egger
Former WIU President Jack Thomas at his desk in 2016.

A new settlement agreement is in the works between Western Illinois University and its former president, Dr. Jack Thomas.

Thomas stepped down as WIU president at the end of June 2019 in what was called a two-year administrative leave.

Terms of the leave called for Thomas to receive his presidential salary of $270,000 each of the next two years (through June 30, 2020), and then be paid not less than $300,000 to teach one class per semester in the tenured position of Distinguished Service Professor.

The first two years have passed and now, according to the new agreement, WIU and Thomas have “a significant dispute” over terms of the 2019 document, “…namely the nature of the assignment, the location of teaching, and duration of the employment.” The new agreement states both sides have threatened contract action and Thomas has raised claims of discrimination.Listen to the story

To settle the dispute, the new agreement calls for Western to pay $900,000 to Thomas. The document said Thomas would receive $80,000 of that in a single payment for alleged lost wages. The rest ($820,000) would go, in a single payment, to the Montgomery, Alabama-based law firm Strickland and Kendall LLC for non-wage compensatory payments, attorneys’ fees, and legal expenses.

The agreement also calls for Thomas to resign from WIU, including the Distinguished Service Professor position, and it says the 2019 agreement is terminated.

The new document says neither side admits to any wrongdoing.

Western’s Board of Trustees members will be asked to approve the document Monday evening when they meet for their annual retreat. The gathering is being held at WIU’s riverfront campus in the Quad Cities.

The document says Thomas will have “…at least 21 days after being presented with this Agreement in which to consider whether to sign it.”

Thomas is now president of Central State University in Ohio. He began that job in July 2020.

You can read the new settlement agreement here

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.


Copyright 2021 Tri States Public Radio. To see more, visit Tri States Public Radio.

Rich is the News Director at Tri States Public Radio. Rich grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago but now calls Macomb home. Rich has a B.A in Communication Studies with an Emphasis on Radio, TV, and Film from Northern Illinois University. Rich came to love radio in high school where he developed his “news nerdiness” as he calls it. Rich’s high school had a radio station called WFVH, which he worked at for a couple years. In college, Rich worked at campus station WKDI for three years, spinning tunes and serving at various times as General Manager, Music Director and Operations Manager. Before being hired as Tri States Public Radio’s news director in 1998, Rich worked professionally in news at WRMN-AM/WJKL-FM in Elgin and WJBC-AM in Bloomington. In Rich’s leisure time he loves music, books, cross-country skiing, rooting for the Cubs and Blackhawks, and baking sugar frosted chocolate bombs. His future plans include “getting some tacos.”