Updated on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.
Fairmont State University’s Board of Governors (BOG) voted Wednesday afternoon to end its contract with President Mirta Martin – months earlier than what was first announced by the university president.
Just one day after Martin announced she would not renew her contract with the school at the end of the year, the school’s board of governors met and voted to end it even earlier.
Martin’s contract will now end on July 18, rather than Dec. 28, which was when her contract was initially set to end.
The vote by the board was not unanimous, according to a news release. Staff representative Jon Dodds and student representative Maiya Bennett voted against ending Martin’s contract.
Fairmont’s BOG Chairman David Goldberg abstained from the vote.
“Fairmont State University has a longstanding history of strong and transformative leadership,” Goldberg said. “Each of our 26 presidents has left a unique and distinct mark on the Falcon family and President Martin is no different. Through her passionate and energetic leadership, Dr. Martin achieved all of the goals set before her by the board.”
The board also voted to transfer all presidential powers and responsibilities to current Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dianna Phillips. The BOG said it will immediately launch a national presidential search.
Martin served as president of the university for almost five years and said she began to consider her decision to leave over the winter holiday. She said while the choice “was a tough and emotional decision to make,” she thinks it’s the right one for her and the university.
“I am so incredibly blessed to have already served in this role for nearly five years. During this time, Fairmont has become my home, and the Falcon family, my family,” Martin said in a campus-wide email on Tuesday. “It is an honor and an absolute privilege to serve all of you. It is also my honor to serve this institution and the state of West Virginia as your president, as president of the Council of Presidents, and as president of the Board of the Mountain East Conference.”
While Martin has received some criticism for her leadership on social media, the school’s board praised work completed while under her leadership.
“[Fairmont State University] has returned to a strong financial position,” Goldberg said. “More than 36 certificate, major, minor or concentrations at the undergraduate and graduate levels have been created and enrollment is trending up for the fall semester. As we look ahead to the future, the board stands ready to ensure a continuity of leadership and support for our students, faculty and staff.”
Original Post by the Associated Press:
Fairmont State University President Mirta Martin plans to step down from her position later this year.
Martin, who was named president in 2018, said in a letter Tuesday that she won’t seek an extension of her contract when it ends in December, news outlets reported.
She told WV News that she made the decision recently after months of reflection and conversations with family. She said she felt she had “achieved the goals that were set for me when I arrived and that I set for the university.”
Financial stability and sustainability have been restored, the school has successfully emerged from the coronavirus pandemic and it has stronger ties to the community, Martin said.
“I’ve acted in the best interest of our students and this institution always, and we’ve established programs of distinction that have made us a destination,” she said.
Martin said she would help make a smooth transfer to the next president.
Fairmont State University Board of Governors Chair David Goldberg thanked Martin for her service and said the panel would meet to review her letter and decide on next steps.