It is with great sorrow that we come together today with the departure of our president and dear friend, Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J. We have all come here to seek the truth, and to know and understand what has happened within the university walls and what has become of the reputation of WJU. In this light, please invite anyone to read the blog and feel free to comment as you wish.

Any posts with profanity are not welcome, otherwise, please speak your mind. You are a part of this university and we want to hear your voice!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WJU Firing Came Early

August 7, 2009

Two days before Wheeling Jesuit University's Board of Trustees voted to fire its president, the Rev. Julio Giulietti, S.J., the university president sent a letter to the board seeking a face-to-face meeting in October with board members who apparently were not pleased with his performance.

Giulietti, the eighth Jesuit priest to lead the college, was relieved of his position Wednesday following a meeting of the WJU Board of Trustees, which is comprised of priests from the Jesuit community.

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees released a statement indicating Giulietti's "departure" and that J. Davitt McAteer, current university vice president, would serve as acting president. The board did not offer a reason for the action.

According to the statement, Giulietti was leaving the university "to continue pursuit of his ministry, which has focused on spirituality, faith, personal development and international outreach."

In the next few weeks, the WJU Board of Directors, which consists of lay members from the community and several Jesuit priests, will form a search committee to select a new president.

Board of Directors President William Fisher on Thursday said board matters are private and he could not comment on what took place.

Attempts to reach members of the Board of Trustees were unsuccessful Thursday.

Giulietti, who is on vacation, maintains that some of the evaluations made about him by Board of Directors members contained "inaccurate statements." He also said he was very distressed to learn that his firing came before his yearly evaluation - slated to include comments from staff, faculty and students this fall - was completed.

"The board's desire to micromanage the university has gotten out of control. They seem to have a poor understanding of the Jesuit education," Giulietti said.

He noted that WJU, despite monetary debt of about $35 million, remains highly successful. Giulietti pointed to the fact that the school is expecting a larger enrollment in the freshmen class this fall and other programs are growing.

"We have a large number of freshman coming in this year, higher than expected. Our graduate programs are going gangbusters. There is a greater excitement among the alumni. They are coming back and articulating their excitement, which has not been there in a long time," he added.

Giulietti said that while there have been some "issues" between his office and the board of directors, most every issue "has been inuendo and lies and we have resolved every single one."

As for the university's financial situation, Giulietti said the university's debt was restructured just prior to his appointment as president and the school is moving forward to pay off that debt. He said despite the current economic situation, WJU has made changes in an effort to grow.

Dr. Donald Hofreuter, a member of the WJU Board of Directors, said he was "sorry to learn of the action of the board of trustees with regard to the termination of Father Julio Giulietti."

"It has been my privilege to serve the university with him the past 18 months. In addition, he is my personal friend, and I am sorry this action was taken," Hofreuter said. "Wheeling Jesuit University is a valuable asset and resource for our community. It is imperative that the board of directors acts in a cohesive and compatible manner to resolve the issues that face us."

On Thursday afternoon, McAteer said he was not involved in the proceedings that ousted Giulietti and he "could not and would not comment on that issue." He did say that it's not unusual for colleges and universities to change leadership, some as often as every year.

He also offered a promise of continued success at WJU and said everyone is excited about the new school year set to start in about three weeks.

"We're in a very positive place, and we're poised for the new school year," McAteer said. "We have 1,200 students coming back to Wheeling in about three weeks time. Nothing has changed in the classrooms. We have the same teachers, and we are focused on educating our students."

- as published in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register by HEATHER ZIEGLER, Associate City Editor

To see the comments on the article at www.news-register.net, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment