Change in ISU leadership leaves students unfazed

2014-03-23T19:00:00Z Change in ISU leadership leaves students unfazedKevin Barlow
March 23, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

NORMAL — When Illinois State University junior Lauren French received an email announcing the resignation of ISU President Timothy Flanagan after seven months in office, she thought it was a joke.

"He hasn't been here that long and it was just kind of a shock that it all happened so quickly," French, of Chicago, said Sunday afternoon outside of Bone Student Center.

The ISU board of trustees accepted Flanagan's resignation, effective immediately, during a special meeting Saturday, but no reason for his departure was disclosed. Larry Dietz, ISU's student affairs vice president and runner-up in last year's presidential search, was approved as his replacement.

The board's meeting came less than a month after a formal complaint was filed about an alleged confrontation between Flanagan and a university employee at the university-owned presidential residence. State legislators also have questioned his recent absence at two budget-related hearings in Springfield.

ISU police investigated the complaint, which now is under review by the McLean County state's attorney's office.

Several ISU students expressed surprise Sunday, but they said they don't believe they will see significant change quickly.

"It's important, but it's not," said Jade Hopkins, also an ISU junior from Chicago. "It is big news, but really, it doesn't change anything about going to class or anything like that."

Matt Drost, a junior from Rockford, wasn't even aware of the change in leadership.

"I guess I have been too busy with March Madness," he said. "I've been watching a lot of basketball."

Most students said they were aware of the formal complaint filed by a university groundskeeper who said Flanagan came out of the house Dec. 5, yelled obscenities and made contact with the worker's torso with his arm. Flanagan denied any wrongdoing.

The worker was fired five days later.

"I have heard a little bit about that, but don't really know much about what happened," said Dylan Payne, a junior from Rockford.

Most students said they have not seen much of Flanagan, who has been president since Aug. 15.

Lexi Nash, a Naperville junior on the ISU swimming team, said Flanagan had been to a swim meet and attended a meeting for student-athletes.

"I just never saw him around very much, but he was only here for seven months," she said.

Many students mentioned that they still miss former President Al Bowman, who stepped down last year for health reasons.

"He was awesome," Nash said. "He came to a lot of our meets and everybody had a great deal of respect for him."

Tyler Clark, a freshman from Johnsburg, described the shakeup as "kind of weird."

"It's my first year here and so you don't expect that to happen so quickly," he said. "I don't think I know much about what led to him resigning, but it just seemed like it happened so fast."

Most students said they didn't know much about Flanagan, either.

"He was only here for seven months, so I don't think that many students knew much about him," said Ryan Forrest, a freshman from Tinley Park. "Let's just hope the new guy works out better."

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(16) Comments

  1. Proud Conservative
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    Proud Conservative - March 24, 2014 5:28 pm
    It's too bad your boss hasn't taught you how to spell (too), but based on how many posts you make every day on every article, maybe you don't have a boss. Maybe you're stuck in your parents' basement.
  2. Whatafoolbelieves
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    Whatafoolbelieves - March 24, 2014 4:46 pm
    Lie Witness News - Obama Appoints Judge Judy to Supreme Court Jimmy Kimmel

    Its to bad your boss won't allow to watch You Tube.

  3. Chadwick Snow
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    Chadwick Snow - March 24, 2014 4:07 pm
    For clarification purposes, Ted is absolutely correct. The value of lodging provided by ISU to the president is considered compensation. So, for example, if the value of residing in the residence is equal to $15,000 per month then the president would pay income tax on that amount. So, consider his compensation to be whatever he makes - using this example for illustrative purposes - plus an additional $180,000 per year. This is quite common for university presidents as well as top of the line athletic coaches. Coaches may receive a salary plus us of an automobile or use of university facilities for privately held camps that would be taxed for personal use.

    As far as criminal charges go, I doubt they will be pursued. An assault charge for bumping someone and spraying saliva is not likely to result in a misdemeanor charge. If he had struck the employee or injured him in some manner that would be a different story. The actions are likely to be considered to be inconsequential. State's attorneys do have discretion to pursue criminal action. As far as the employee is concerned, he may receive a settlement from ISU. He was hastily dispatched but may have been in an initial probationary phase of employment where the university would not need cause for dismissal. However, their actions may be considered detrimental to the reputation of the fired employee and that would be the cause for a settlement. I'm certain ISU would not wish to pursue a public defense in a civil case. That's how their system works.

    ISU wanted Flanagan gone and did not have sufficient grounds under the terms of his contract to let him go (fire him). If Flanagan were fired and he filed a breach of contract action it would be ugly, time consuming and probably cost as much in legal fees as the settlement. That's why Flanagan's legal counsel and ISU's legal counsel drew up a severance agreement. It's fairly clear that Flanagan was in the catbird seat. It is likely both parties are under a gag order and the details, other than the financial arrangements reported, will not be made public.
  4. otis1949
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    otis1949 - March 24, 2014 1:45 pm
    the daily paragraph
  5. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - March 24, 2014 1:39 pm
    -When this incident was first reported the ISU employee had hired an attorney and a civil suit had been filed. This incident is a couple of months old and the employee had been terminated from his job. That was the reason he retained an attorney and the civil suit was filed. Flanagan in the beginning denied all allegations and a special prosecutor was being named to handle criminal charges IF THEY WERE TO BE FILED. The civil lawsuit as I said, was filed at the time this story was first brought to the public light.
  6. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - March 24, 2014 1:03 pm
    Lets see Ted, if I live in a house and do not make any payments or pay rent; I would call that free housing. Not one time did I say anything was tax exempt or tax free. Now as your comment about resigning and the amount of his severance package I suggest you consult WHOI news as they are the source of my information on the resignation and the amount of the severance package. Just because it is not in the PANTAGRAPH does not mean it is not true. As far as witnesses go Ted, there were a dozen witnesses who saw then States Attorney Charles Reynard strike a primary opponent in front of the old court house on Main Street. There were no criminal charges filed, Reynard won the primary and re-election and is currently a presiding McLean County Judge. There was a civil lawsuit filed and it was settled for an undisclosed amount of money and the records were sealed. Next comment Ted.
  7. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - March 24, 2014 12:37 pm
    1. Flanagan didn't have a "free" house with utilities and services paid. It was part of his compensation and he has to pay taxes on that when filing returns.

    2. The article doesn't list financial issues with Flanagan resigning, but it would be very unusual for him to voluntarily resign and get a severance package that pays close to or 100% of his contracted salary for just 7 months on the job. If he were fired for something that wasn't a legitimate firing, severance might be a way to pay him to leave. But he resigned, so that makes it harder.

    3. Prior articles list 5 or 6 witnesses to the confrontation (groundskeepers working with the supervisor who was fired 5 days after the argument). It is going to be really hard to overcome about 5-7 people's police statements and say that there isn't a reason to charge anyone.
  8. thoughts a million
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    thoughts a million - March 24, 2014 10:52 am
    I see you edited what you posted just like the Leno show did. You don't think putting people with the correct answers was good for Leno's ratings, do you?
  9. thoughts a million
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    thoughts a million - March 24, 2014 10:50 am
    We haven't seen the state's attorney report yet, so it's highly speculative that there won't be any charges. And has the employee filed a lawsuit? I've not seen anything to indicate that.
  10. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - March 24, 2014 10:45 am
    QUOTE: "It is hard to claim unprovoked assault when you are on the property of the person you charge."

    IT WASN'T FLANAGAN'S PROPERTY. It belongs to you and me.
  11. Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor
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    Ted Kennedy's Swim Instructor - March 24, 2014 10:43 am
    "It's important, but it's not,"
    "I guess I have been too busy with March Madness. I've been watching a lot of basketball."

    It's like watching a sketch of Jay Walking on the Late Show.
  12. Whatafoolbelieves
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    Whatafoolbelieves - March 24, 2014 7:58 am
    Just a suggestion . Just have Jane Lynch an Illinois State University grad and actress become honorary president. Have her show up few times a year and pay her what ever she wants.
  13. Whatafoolbelieves
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    Whatafoolbelieves - March 24, 2014 7:50 am
    That hath made him mad.
    I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
    I had not quoted him: I fear'd he did but trifle,
    And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
    By heaven, it is as proper to our age
    To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
    As it is common for the younger sort
    To lack discretion.
  14. BC
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    BC - March 24, 2014 6:59 am
    According to what sketchy facts is being published this involved a complaint from a person who claims an assault while the complainant was in President Flanagan's yard. ISU probably offered a settlement for his resignation which is not unusual. Time will tell if your predictions are correct, however I doubt he will remain in their employ since they were willing to buy out his contract to get rid of him. No charges filed points to the fact that there was not enough wrong doing to charge him. It is hard to claim unprovoked assault when you are on the property of the person you charge.
  15. earlyriser54
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    earlyriser54 - March 24, 2014 6:27 am
    I told you all that there would be no criminal charges, he would resign quietly and would get a nice settlement. He is gone overnight after 7 months, he will not be charged criminally, along with a severance package of $480,000.00. I also predicted the employee in question will settle his lawsuit out of court. It will result in him having a lifetime job at ISU, and a nice cash settlement. Of course the files in that case will be ordered sealed so ISU can hide the settlement from the public. Considering Flanagan had a free house with utilities paid, lawn, maid, and driver services provided; PLUS a fine salary for those 7 months I would say he had a good year. As far as the students are concerned, they could care less who lives in the big house. Their attention is focused on getting those student loan checks on time and if there is going to be a well enough paying job available for them upon graduating..
  16. Whatafoolbelieves
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    Whatafoolbelieves - March 24, 2014 4:01 am
    Lie Witness News - Obama Appoints Judge Judy to Supreme Court Jimmy Kimmel
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