MACOMB — Western Illinois University Interim President Martin Abraham spoke about his future at the institution after Monday’s spring assembly.
The Board of Trustees’ decision to conduct a presidential search put uncertainty in Abraham’s future at the university, but he did indicate that he envisions himself as a member of the Macomb community moving forward.
“My goal is to retire from Western Illinois,” Abraham told members of the media after the assembly, “…not any time in the immediate future, but in the long-term.”
While Abraham won’t commit to applying for the job until he learns more about the search process, he appears to be willing to put his name into consideration.
His contract as interim president expires in June, but Abraham predicts that the contract will be renewed. The search process will take between 12 and 18 months to complete, which increases the likelihood that he will remain in the interim role until at least 2021.
Until there’s a resolution in the president’s position, Abraham said that he will continue to enact necessary changes to improve the university.
Recently, he dissolved the Administrative Services Division, which he said will save the university $100,000. He said that the university is also able to save money through methods like using email instead of printing out materials.
While working with his staff to find ways to cut costs, he said that 2019’s layoffs will not become an annual tradition.
“There will be no layoffs,” he said. “I don’t see anything down the road that would even suggest that anything like that is going to be forthcoming.”
In the midst of discrimination concerns on the Macomb campus, Abraham said that he was proud to see 300 people attend the diversity workshops last week.
“It truly demonstrates our university’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity,” he said.
He also expressed a desire to take additional steps to tackle intolerance and embrace inclusion by creating new initiatives, programs, and student-focused workshops, while also enhancing what the Multicultural Center has to offer.
Although “interim” is still part of his job title, Abraham appears to be focused on what lies ahead for Western.
“I intend to be here and see the strategic plan develop and many of these programs implemented,” he said.
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