TORRINGTON – According to a press release dated April 15, 5:20 p.m., the EWC Board of Trustees announced the resignation of President Lesley Travers, effective immediately.
“The Board would like to thank Dr. Travers for her service to the college and wish her well in her retirement,” said Board Chair Robert Baumgartner. “As we move forward, the Board is committed to finding the best fit for EWC who will focus on our students and build a strong future.”
According to a note left on the front of Eastern Wyoming College on Friday, the emergency meeting was called to discuss personnel and went directly into executive session at 11:30 a.m. The meeting took place on a day when most faculty and staff were away on Easter Break.
The Telegram was tipped off about the meeting early Friday afternoon and was allowed into the meeting at 3:13 p.m., when trustee John Patrick notified our Publisher, Rob Mortimore the meeting was open to the public.
Baumgartner asked Mortimore that he not release information publicly before faculty and staff could be notified of their decision.
“I guess, Rob if we could, to ask for your common courtesy. After you were at last Tuesday’s meeting, we would ask for the common courtesy of allowing us to inform faculty and staff before a press release would go out to the public,” Baumgartner said.
“Did you notify them that you were here now? They could be here right now,” Mortimore asked.
“This is an emergency meeting,” Baumgartner said.
“Right, I’m aware of that and I get that,” Mortimore said. “But, you could have notified them if you were going to come back out into an open meeting. They could be here, just like I am.”
“Again, we’re just asking for your common courtesy,” Baumgartner said.
“We did come out of executive session and we tendered Dr. Travers’ letter of resignation and we have appointed Dr. Rick Patterson as our interim president,” Baumgartner said.
According to Baumgartner, there was a motion, seconded and vote taken by the board, but the Telegram was not present for the vote.
“Yes, there was a motion, seconded and we voted on it,” he said. “It was a unanimous vote to accept the resignation and a unanimous vote to accept Dr. Patterson as the interim president.”
Moments later, Baumgartner asked if there was a motion to move into executive session for personnel. Patrick made the motion, which was seconded by trustee Randy Adams. The board went back into executive session at 3:16 p.m.
Patterson was reached for comment and stated when Dr. Travers rendered her resignation effective immediately on Friday morning, the board was forced to make an immediate selection of an interim president.
“Accreditation, HLC (Higher Learning Commission) and the Community College Commission require a Chief Executive Officer, a president. You can’t have a gap…There’s no option. That action on her part forced an immediate selection of an interim,” Patterson said.
“My role as an interim, essentially is two things. One is to steady things the best I can because we have students on campus and about three weeks to go and we’ve got to take care of those students. That is the absolute priority. We’ve got to take care of those students. Get through graduation, make sure the classes are being taught and everything’s running smoothly and in spite of whatever else happens,” Patterson said. and the second thing is for an interim to do is to while I’m there to identify what the biggest threats are to the college, the biggest potential problems. Look for the holes in the ship, if you will…and take immediate steps to start patching things or getting things in place. You don’t necessarily fix everything overnight, but you need to have the problems identified. You need to have a plan to address them and you need to take what steps you can until the new person gets there so they don’t have to spend the first few weeks or months of their tenure, figuring out where the holes are.”