Rumors and questions have flooded campus since the sudden resignation of Timothy Flanagan on March 22, when he stepped down from President of Illinois State University and was paid $480,000.
When the Board of Trustees (BOT) announced their decision of the payout, students and staff questioned the ability of the university to afford this amount of money. However, Jay D. Bergman, BOT member, said it was the best decision for the university.
“It was a lot of money, but it was the best of the bad alternatives the board had,” Bergman said.
The BOT faced two options, both of which resulted in paying Flanagan a large sum of money.
The first option involved firing Flanagan, in which he would inevitably file for cause against the university with the likelihood of winning, he said. In the case of Flanagan’s victory, the university would be forced to pay him up to $1 million. If the BOT did win against Flanagan, which was unlikely, it would still cost the university a few hundred thousand dollars, Bergman said.
The second option was to make a compromise with Flanagan, which is essentially what the BOT decided to do. The compromise stated that if Flanagan resigned, the BOT would pay him the rest of this year’s salary of $130,000, plus his entire next year’s salary, which would have been $350,000, totaling the $480,000 Flanagan received.
However, the reason for Flanagan’s requested resignation is still unknown.
“The agreement we had with Dr. Flanagan says we won’t disclose that information. We can only put out a press release,” Bergman said.
Students have been seeking justice since this announcement, by protesting on the Quad and asking others to sign their petition. They believe the money that was paid to Flanagan should go to the students instead.
“I would certainly rather see the students have the money, I’m on their side,” Bergman said. “Nobody on the Board was crazy about it either, but it was the best thing we could do.”
Flanagan has permission to reside in the presidential residence until May, in which he will have to move out so newly appointed President Larry Dietz can move in.
“We wish Dr. Flanagan well,” Bergman said. “He’s not a bad guy, it just was not a good fit for ISU.”