Winthrop University board votes out president, names interim

by: Eric Philips Updated:

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ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University has a new president Thursday after its board of trustees voted to out the former president, just one year into her five-year contract.
 
It took the board of trustees about two and a half hours to decide unanimously to fire Winthrop University President Jamie Comstock Williamson and the termination is effective immediately.
 
About two weeks ago, the Board of Trustees suspended Williamson after growing complaints surrounding decisions she'd made: Giving pay raises without notifying the board, increasing summer tuition rates with short notice and her husband's controversial employment by the university.
 
“The board determined that evidence in its judgment was clear and convincing that cause exists to warrant immediate termination,” said board chair Kathy Bigham.
 
One alumnus of the university spoke up during the meeting.
 
“I never felt a reason to come until this,” said Mary Beth Hughes. “And I just think the president has gotten a bum rap.”
 
It didn't stop the board from moving forward with the termination and appointment of Provost Debra Boyd as acting president.
 
“It's a daunting task but I have a good group of people to work with me and I look forward to working with them and making sure that the university doesn't skip a beat,” Boyd said.
 
Students said they haven't really felt the effects of all this.
 
“You have the students and then you have the faculty and staff and then you have administrators and then you have the president and so it's probably going to affect all of those groups and then lastly us. So right now I don't know how it's going to affect us,” student Megan Smiths aid.
 
Williamson was not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.  Eyewitness News went to her home and did not find her there.  Channel 9 also reached out her attorney, but have not heard back.

Read our past coverage:

Winthrop University board suspends president

Faculty express concern over Winthrop's new president appointment