WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 14, 2021 — West Liberty University’s Board of Governors, led by Chairman Rich Lucas, met recently and issued a statement in support of President W. Franklin Evans and his response to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Jan. 5, 2021 between officials of the City of Wheeling and Bluefield State College (BSC).
“As the chairman of the Board of Governors, I am expressing our full support of President Evans in his statements and actions during the past weeks made in response to the City of Wheeling’s MOU signed with Bluefield State College for the purpose of its expansion into Downtown Wheeling. President Evans is acting in a manner that is prudent and in the best interests of West Liberty University, its students and its constituents,” said Lucas.
“The Board of Governors is grateful for the support of the greater Wheeling community over its 184-years of existence and plans to continue to provide a quality education and community outreach long into the future.”
The MOU explores a long-term lease between the city and BSC that will evolve into a creation of a BSC branch campus at the former Ohio Valley Medical Center property in Center Wheeling, now owned by the City.
“At a time when Higher Education everywhere is recovering from the effects of a global pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetime, President Evans is performing his duties in a careful, thoughtful manner. He appreciates the importance of ‘town and gown’ relations and is pleased to serve on the board of the RED (Regional Economic Development Authority) and the Ohio County Development Authority. The Board of Governors supports his efforts and is grateful for his leadership,” Lucas added.
Evans began his tenure as WLU’s 37th president in January 2021.
Below is President Evans’ March 10 public statement in response to the BSC MOU.
“I stand in solidarity with the other leaders of our local colleges and universities in this matter. We are confident that our three institutions (WLU, Wheeling University and West Virginia Northern Community College) are equipped to provide the educational needs of this region with quality programs that meet the demands of our regional employers.”
“There is a process that must be followed to ensure that the expansion of programs by public institutions of higher learning in the state of West Virginia are needed and successful. This process is proper and is the only way to achieve approval of such expansion.”
The WLU Board of Governors is led by Chairman Lucas and includes the following members: Jack Adams (secretary), McMurray, Pa.; Kelly Baker (WLU staff member), Wheeling; Michael J. Baker, Wheeling; Joseph W. Carey, New York, NY; Richard Carter, Wheeling; Professor Linda Cowan (WLU faculty member), Wheeling; Dr. Jamie Evick, Glen Dale, W.Va. and Isabella Yakicic (student government president), Sidman, Pa.
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education. For more information, please visit www.westliberty.edu or call 1.866.WESTLIB.