Liz McCormick Published

Faculty Survey Finds No Confidence As Some Call For West Liberty President’s Resignation Over Plagiarism Concerns

Franklin Evans West Liberty headshot.jpg

Faculty at West Liberty University are questioning the academic integrity of President Franklin Evans following plagiarism allegations. Some are even calling on him to resign.

Evans has been accused of lifting entire paragraphs from other writers into several speeches he made since becoming president of the university in January.

During West Liberty’s board of governor’s meeting Wednesday evening, faculty representative Jason Metz presented a recent survey of the university’s faculty-at-large and the faculty senate.

Almost 70 percent of the faculty responded to the survey. Of that, 86 percent felt the president’s leadership had been compromised, 45 percent believed the issue could be resolved through punitive action by the board of governors, more than 70 percent said they have no confidence in the president’s leadership, and 60 percent requested his resignation.

“We also feel that Dr. Evans’ apology was a step in the right direction,” Metz said. “But we do have actions and impacts on our campus that are already being felt.”

Metz said parents have been questioning how the school will uphold academic honesty.

“We have reports of those that provide tours to prospective students on campus, that their parents are questioning our academic integrity already,” he said. “They are asking the tour leaders how we intend on enforcing academic honesty, and our students and our leaders don’t have an answer for that.”

Metz went on to say some teachers have reported challenges from students citing a double-standard, and there are concerns about financial support to the school.

“We have not been told of any proof, but we also believe that there could be a potential impact to the number of donors and donor money to the foundation.”

After their meeting, West Liberty’s board of governors entered into an executive session for what they called a “human resources issue.” It was not immediately clear, however, if that issue was related to the plagiarism allegations.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting requested comment from Evans, but a university spokesperson said he was not providing comment on the survey at this time.

Following the executive session, the board of governors took no formal action and said the “human resources issue” had been referred to the Human Resources Department at West Liberty University.

A spokesperson for the school said they could not explain what the human resources issue was about and said it may be private.