Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Wheeling University, Diocese Still Mum on Favede Suspension

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WHEELING – It has been nearly two weeks since Wheeling University suspended President Ginny Favede with pay, and parties involved still aren’t talking publicly about what precipitated her removal.

They also aren’t saying whether she remains on the payroll at the private Catholic university.

“We have no additional information at this time,” said Kelly Klubert, vice president of advancement. “As the situation warrants, we will provide an update.”

Chad Carter, chancellor for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, also is a member of the WU Board of Trustees. The board suspended Favede with pay on Feb. 20.

“At this time, I am not wishing to make any comments to the media,” Carter said.

No other members of the board of trustees contacted responded to requests for comments. They are chair Maribeth Arlia, co-owner of ACE Digital Academy; Joseph Munhall of White Oak Healthcare Finance; Rev. Msgr. Joseph L. Peterson; and Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Chase Watts.

Favede also remains listed as a member of the board. She did not return messages seeking comment.

When the board decided to suspend Favede with pay, no reason was provided in the released statement.

The statement did indicate that Dianna Vargo — the former superintendent of Ohio County Schools who has been serving as the university’s director of graduate education and accelerated certification for teaching programs — would serve as the university’s interim chief operations officer and “work directly with the board of trustees to develop a plan moving forward.”

“The board of trustees is working to ensure that all functions of the university continue without disruption,” the release continued.

The university has seen its share of struggles in recent years. In February 2021, the Higher Learning Commission placed WU on probation after the commission determined the university “does not have sufficient fiscal resources to support its operation,” and relied too heavily on subsidies it receives from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.

The HLC lifted the probation in February 2023, but continued to monitor the university for financial, staffing and enrollment concerns. In the letter the HLC sent to WU at that time, it said that “(w)hile the Institution has demonstrated progress in growing enrollment, current enrollment continues to be insufficient to meet the institution’s fiscal needs.

“The Institution has demonstrated a pattern of using unrealistic projections of enrollment growth in its enrollment and fiscal planning. However, the Institution has recently sought to address this by retaining a consulting firm to assist the institution on enrollment management.”

More recently, the university has dealt with facility repair issues. Twenty-five students were temporarily moved out of their dorm rooms and into other spaces in February after water pipes installed at Ignatius Hall in the early 1990s had become compromised and were causing moisture issues.



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