MACOMB, Ill. (WEEK) — Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas has resigned his post.
At a board meeting Friday, Thomas announced he would step down from university leadership.
“At this pivotal time in our history, I believe the University would best be served by new leadership,” Thomas said in a letter to the university community.
Thomas’ resignation comes after weeks of pressure from alumni and university affiliates calling for him to resign or be fired. Last week, the WIU Alumni Council passed a resolution asking the university board to terminate Thomas’ contract by the end of the month if he did not resign.
Enrollment at WIU has declined rapidly in recent years.
In March, the school announced 132 faculty and staff layoffs.
Thomas admitted the university’s struggles in his letter, including decreased state funding, the two-year state budget impasse, and the “large outmigration of high school students” from Illinois.
“Without a doubt, I have had to make some difficult decisions – including ones that have sometimes been very unpopular,” Thomas wrote, “through it all, we continue to transform students’ lives, participate in outstanding research, achieve a tremendous level of student, faculty and staff success, and positively impact the communities in which we live, serve and learn.”
President Jack Thomas’ resignation will be effective June 30.