Minutes of the Winthrop University Board of Trustees

Friday, June 13, 2014

Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Members present: Kathy Bigham (Chair), Karl Folkens, Jane LaRoche, Susan Smith-Rex, Bob Thompson, Donna Glenn Holley, Janet Smalley, Ashlye Wilkerson , Glenn McCall, Tim Hopkins, Don Long, Tim Sease, Scott Talley, Jamie Comstock Williamson(ex officio).

Members absent: Mitchell Zais, Scott Middleton

Staff absent: Kimberly Faust (Secretary to the Board)

Representatives present: Christopher Aubrie, Student Representative; John Bird, Faculty Representative

Representatives absent: None

Others present: Faculty and staff of Winthrop University, Larry Williamson, Anna Douglas of The Herald. Andrew Kiel of WRHI, Alison Rauch of CN2, Mary O'Connor of WJZY, Fox Charlotte, Randy Imler (Trustee-elect).

The Board of Trustees met on Friday, June 13 on the campus of Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC.

Call to Order

Chair Kathy Bigham called the meeting to order at 12:02 p.m. She thanked all for attending the meeting and some for going as far as cutting vacations short.

Executive Session

Karl Folkens moved the Board meet in executive session for discussion of contractual matters of the President and to seek legal advice. Faculty Representative John Bird and Trustee-elect Randy Imler were invited to stay in executive session. Don Long seconded the motion. As the vote was unanimous, the Board moved into executive session at 12:06 p.m.

President Williamson was invited to join the Executive Session at 4:36 p.m. The Board returned to open session at 5:56 p.m.

At 5:57 p.m. Glenn McCall moved that the Board direct the Board Chair to deliver to President Williamson a notice of the Board's basis for alleged Cause for Termination of the President's Employment Agreement pursuant to 10.1 of her contract. Scott Talley seconded the motion. There was no request for discussion. All thirteen voting trustees present except Jane LaRoche approved the motion, carrying its approval 12-1.

Glenn McCall then moved that the Board pursuant to Article VI, Section D. of the Board's Bylaws suspend the President's duties and obligations pending further meeting of the Board, and that the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs assume the duties of the president as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the University. Karl Folkens seconded the motion. Hearing no request for discussion, the vote was called and the motion passed unanimously.

Karl Folkens moved to return to executive session for continued discussion of contractual matters. Don Long seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous and the Board resumed executive session at 6:01 p.m. The President's Advisory Council, Student Representative to the Board, Christopher Aubrie, and Faculty Representative to the Board, John Bird, were invited to stay.

At 7:20 p.m., hearing no objections Chair Kathy Bigham moved the Board out of executive session and delivered a full statement regarding the earlier vote. After being in executive session to discuss matters about President Jamie Comstock Williamson's contract for seven hours, Chair Kathy Bigham stated that the Winthrop University Trustees voted in public session by a vote of 12 to 1 to direct her as Board Chair to deliver to Williamson notice of the Board's basis for termination for cause.

Chair Kathy Bigham continued that under the terms of the contract with the University, Williamson was entitled to a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the Board takes any further action. Williamson was provided the opportunity to exercise that right at 10:00 a.m. on June 26, 2014 at Winthrop University.

After that time, Chair Kathy Bigham stated that the Board will then determine if cause exists to proceed with termination. Chair Kathy Bigham reiterated that the Board immediately suspended the President's duties and obligations pending further Board action and that Debra Boyd, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs was directed to assume the duties of the President as the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the University.

The Board emphasized through Chair Kathy Bigham that they are carrying out their responsibilities as stewards of the University in initiating this process and are aware of public concerns and questions about certain matters at Winthrop. Chair Kathy Bigham stated that the Board wants to be sure that President Williamson has every opportunity to respond to those concerns in a comprehensive manner before considering what, if any, next steps should be taken. The Board made it clear of having no intentions of issuing any additional statements until the June 26, 2014 meeting. No further questions were taken.


Old Business


New Business



Karl Folkens moved to adjourn the meeting. Bob Thompson seconded the motion. Hearing no objections, Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 7:21 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Alexandra Persson, Assistant to the Secretary of the Board