President of Central State University to Step Down on June 30

Jack Thomas, president of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, has announced that he will step down from his post on June 30. After taking a sabbatical, he will return to the university as a tenured professor.

Dr. Thomas became president of Central State University in July 2020. In a statement, President Thomas said that “it has been a privilege serving as president during this historic period as we made monumental strides in moving the university forward.”

Mark Hatcher, chair of the board of trustees, released a statement saying: “The board thanks Dr. Thomas for his service to the university and the progress that the university has made during his time as president.”

Neither statement mentioned a February report by an outside law firm that investigated allegations by five women who had alleged employment discrimination. The report called President Thomas’  leadership style “rude, belittling and bullying.” Two of those women later filed a lawsuit against the university.

Dr. Thomas was named the eleventh president of Western Illinois University in 2011. He resigned in 2019 after the Alumni Association and the Western Illinois University Foundation called for the board of trustees to remove the president. Enrollments at the main campus of the university had dropped from nearly 10,000 students in 2009 to about 5,600 in the spring of 2019. He had previously served as the university’s provost and academic vice president. Prior to his tenure at Western Illinois, Dr. Thomas served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Alabama A & M University, a master’s degree in English education from Virginia State University, and a Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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  1. What kind of background check did the presidential search committee do before hiring the current president? Because there were several red flags in his previous positions. The question is why would they move forward with hiring him after seeing those red flags?

    Central State University has again created a negative image of this historic university

  2. The University is a one of a kind University requiring a near perfect leader to do it’s best work. The one and only leader that succeeded was Dr. Charles Wesley. Not too many like him around anymore.

    • Dear Dr. Green,

      You should know that our entering freshman class at Central State College in fall of 1964 was the largest freshmen class ever, and it was the last freshman class that Dr. Charles H. Wesley welcomed. He was an intellectual giant, an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a role model for young Black men like me and my classmates. I still remember Dr. Wesley’s Freshman Convocation speech to our class the first Sunday evening before class began on Monday and our walk through The Sunken Garden with our flickering candles.

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