MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — During a special session meeting by the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees on Friday, a unanimous vote was taken to cancel the contract of University President Fritz Erickson.
All eight board members voted in favor of the motion.
Erickson’s contract started on July 1, 2014 and had previously been extended through June of 2023.
Trustee Steve Young made the motion to terminate Erickson’s contract. He cited a need for leadership and forward thinking in the area of strategic planning.
Young went on to say the university needs more critical thinking and idea generating from the the President’s office.
In the area of enrollment, Young said the University needs bold action to counteract declining numbers.
He also cited a need for improved communication with the board, and more leadership on fundraising and capital improvements.
Video of the special session is available below.
The following statement was issued by Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees Chair Tami Seavoy:
The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to terminate Dr. Fritz Erickson’s appointment as president of the university. The termination is effective immediately. This has been a very difficult decision, but it was guided by the principle of what is in the best interest of the university.
While we recognize and thank Dr. Erickson for some outstanding work, particularly as he maintained a level of calm and stability during the pandemic, we expected more thoughtful and critical action from him on many issues. For these reasons, we have lost confidence in his ability to effectively lead the university.
The responsibility to hire and, in unfortunate circumstances, terminate the president are among the most important duties of a university board, and we did not arrive at this decision lightly. It was Vice Chair Young’s and my intention to come to terms on an agreement that would have allowed Dr. Erickson to voluntarily step down by the end of 2021. Regrettably, we were unable to reach such an agreement after several weeks of negotiation. Therefore, we determined that termination would be in the best interest of the university.
We have asked NMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kerri Schuiling, Ph.D., and Vice President for Finance and Administration, R. Gavin Leach, to assist with the immediate transition. With their collaboration and leadership, we will move forward toward common goals.
At its regularly scheduled formal session on Friday, October 1, the board will discuss appointment of an interim president to lead the university until a permanent appointment can be made.
We will make an announcement regarding that appointment as soon as details are final. We will also identify and appoint a search committee to guide the process of seeking President Erickson’s successor. Additional information on the search process and timeline will be released in the coming weeks.Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees Chair Tami Seavoy