Winthrop University trustees voted to fire president Jamie Williamson on Thursday afternoon, finalizing a move that appeared imminent two weeks ago.
After three hours behind closed doors, school trustees voted unanimously to terminate the suspended president, naming interim chief executive officer Debra Boyd as the university’s acting president.
Board chair Kathy Bighams says the trustees’ confidence in Williamson’s leadership was fractured. “Candor and trust between the president and the board are crucial for this university and any university to thrive,” she said after Thursday’s meeting. “Once that candor and trust is irretrievably broken, decisions must be made to chart a different course.”
Documents released by the board last week claim Williamson erroneously hired her husband, lied to the trustees and the public, and had an explosive personality.
Williamson released a statement shortly after the vote, saying, “This is a very sad day for Winthrop University and me personally. I am proud and honored to have been chosen as the 10th President of Winthrop a year ago. From the outset, I believed that I could provide the leadership to accomplish the visions that so many people shared with me.”
She did not address the merits of the board’s decision. Williamson’s attorney also threatened a lawsuit for breach of trust, slander and defamation. There’s no word on the status of that lawsuit.
The school’s board of trustees voted on June 13 to give Williamson a 13-day notice of termination, one day after the Rock Hill Herald newspaper reported her husband was paid $27,000 for government relations work at the school, apparently without the board’s knowledge. Mr. Williamson returned the money after the board’s vote.
The board will now seek a permanent replacement for Williamson. A decisions is expected in the coming months.
Andrew Kiel of Rock Hill station WRHI filed this report