LIVE: Board denies Wise bonus, resignation

Interim+Chancellor+and+Dean+of+the+College+of+LAS%C2%A0Barbara+Wilson%C2%A0speaks+to+media%2C+alongside+President+Timothy+Killeen+%28left%29+and+Board+Chairman+Edward+McMillan+%28right%29+following+the+Board+of+Trustee%27s+Executive+Committee+on+Wednesday.%C2%A0
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LIVE: Board denies Wise bonus, resignation

Interim Chancellor and Dean of the College of LAS Barbara Wilson speaks to media, alongside President Timothy Killeen (left) and Board Chairman Edward McMillan (right) following the Board of Trustee's Executive Committee on Wednesday. 

Interim Chancellor and Dean of the College of LAS Barbara Wilson speaks to media, alongside President Timothy Killeen (left) and Board Chairman Edward McMillan (right) following the Board of Trustee's Executive Committee on Wednesday. 

Interim Chancellor and Dean of the College of LAS Barbara Wilson speaks to media, alongside President Timothy Killeen (left) and Board Chairman Edward McMillan (right) following the Board of Trustee's Executive Committee on Wednesday. 

Interim Chancellor and Dean of the College of LAS Barbara Wilson speaks to media, alongside President Timothy Killeen (left) and Board Chairman Edward McMillan (right) following the Board of Trustee's Executive Committee on Wednesday. 

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Check back here for our updates on the Board of Trustees meeting, or follow The Daily Illini on Twitter at @TheDailyIllini for live tweets on the status of the meeting. 

(5:10 p.m.) – President Timothy Killeen said the Board of Trustees decided to initiate formal dismissal proceedings against Phyllis Wise.

A news release stated Board Chairman Edward McMillian wrote a letter to Wise, detailing her dismissal proceedings. The excerpt detailed that Wise will have the option to come before the board to present evidence and reason behind certain decisions.

The board will not be “bound by formal or technical rules of evidence and its decision shall be final,” according to the University’s statutes. 

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(4:40 p.m.) Phyllis Wise will serve as President Timothy Killeen’s special assistant with a focus on biomedical issues. Her salary will stay remain the same, $549,069 a year. Killeen said Wise’s role will be discussed further in the future.

The Board of Trustees approved Barbara Wilson to serve as interim chancellor. She will earn $397,500 a year as interim chancellor and will continue to serve as the dean of LAS as well. 

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(4:10 p.m.) The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees voted not to approve former Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s resignation. Wise will not receive the proposed $400,000 bonus and President Timothy Killeen will assign her new responsibilities.

The committee approved Killeen’s recommendation of Barbara Wilson as interim chancellor, effective immediately.

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(12:15 p.m.) – President Timothy Killeen has recommended Barbara Wilson as interim chancellor for Urbana’s campus, according to a news release.

The Board of Trustees executive committee will vote on Wilson’s appointment at a meeting at 2 p.m. today. Her appointment will become effective after the board accepts former chancellor Phyllis Wise’s resignation.

Wilson currently serves as the dean of LAS and will continue to during her term as chancellor. Wilson said in the release that she will not be a candidate for permanent chancellor.

Killeen said the search for a permanent chancellor will begin immediately and a diverse search team is being assembled.

“Barb Wilson brings a wealth of experience and familiarity with the operations and the people of the Urbana campus, and her academic lifetime has been spent at public universities renowned for high performance and excellence,” Killeen said in the release. “I admire Barb for her superb talent, her loyalty to the Urbana campus, and her willingness to step up to this critical role.”

Wilson, 57, earned her three degrees — a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s and Ph.D. in communication — from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She became dean of LAS, the largest college in the University, in 2014. Previously, she served in the Office of the Provost from 2009 to 2014. She served as the executive vice provost for faculty and academic affairs for two years.

Before joining the University, Wilson was a faculty member at the University of California Santa Barbara for 12 years.

“I am honored to be asked to serve in this role,” Wilson said. “As interim chancellor, my focus will be on stability and continuity in the transition to a new permanent chancellor so our faculty, students and staff may concentrate on their work and the fulfillment of our missions.”

Wilson’s secretary said she is unavailable to talk today. 

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The Board of Trustees executive committee will name an interim chancellor for the Urbana campus today.

The meeting will be live streamed and begin at 2 p.m. Trustees will also vote on whether to approve a proposed $400,000 bonus for former chancellor Phyllis Wise and accept her resignation. 

University spokesperson Tom Hardy said he was unaware of who the interim chancellor is, but they will fulfill all responsibilities of a permanent chancellor. A new search for a permanent chancellor will soon begin and could take six to nine months to complete, he said.

Wise resigned Aug. 6, leaving the board with one week to find an interim chancellor. She said external issues have distracted the University from its mission and said therefore it was a good time to “step aside.”

On Friday, the University released over 1,110 pages of emails sent from administration and faculty members’ personal accounts that had been left out of previous Freedom of Information Act requests.

Email topics involved James Kilgore, a former convicted felon who was hired by the University in 2008, Steven Salaita, whose rejected appointment spurred academic freedom discussion across the nation and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

Wise’s contract included a $500,000 retention bonus after five years with the University. She will receive a pro-rated bonus contingent on three factors: leaving the office due to a disability, death or “at the election of the Board of Trustees,” according to her contract.

Illinois Deputy Governor Trey Childress wrote a letter to board Chairman Edward McMillan on behalf of the governor’s administration. The letter urges the board to vote against the bonus, stating it would be a “major step in the wrong direction.”

Despite Wise’s resignation, she is not leaving the University. She will return to the faculty as a professor in molecular and cellular biology with a $300,000 yearly salary. Hardy said he believes Wise will take a year-long sabbatical, as it is per usual in this circumstance.

The executive committee includes McMillan and trustees James Montgomery and Karen Hasara. The meeting will take place in room 364 of the Henry Administration Building, with videoconferences in Springfield and Chicago.

The Daily Illini will post live updates beginning at 2 p.m.