Date: March 10, 2006
On March 9, a specially called meeting of the Andrews University Board of Trustees took an action asking Dr. Niels-Erik Andreasen to continue serving as president of the university for the remainder of its fiscal year, ending June 30. Andreasen agreed to the request.
Andreasen had served as president of the university for 12 years until his resignation at the regular Board meeting on March 6.
At a break during that meeting, the leadership of the board asked Dr. Andreasen for his resignation and he agreed. When he wrote his resignation letter, Andreasen stated that it would be "effective immediately." Apparently, it was that phrase which was the root of a misunderstanding between Andreasen and the Board. Andreasen thought the Board was wishing for his resignation to be immediate while the Board, upon receipt of his letter, assumed that it was Andreasen's wish for a quick conclusion.
After that meeting, some trustees talked further with Andreasen and recognized the misunderstanding that had emerged. They, in turn, asked Elder Gerald Karst, chair of the Board of Trustees and general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, to call a special meeting to ask for clarification.
The meeting was called and the Board voted overwhelmingly to ask Dr. Andreasen to serve in his current capacity until June 30, to help ensure stability and continuity in the university's operations as new leadership is identified and put in place.
"Dr. Andreasen is a gifted thinker and servant leader who has given valuable leadership to Andrews for more than a decade," says Elder Karst "Although the board has determined that Andrews needs some of the opportunities that could be offered by new leadership, I'm pleased that Dr. Andreasen will be staying by for the remainder of this school year."
On March 6, the requested resignations of Dr. Andreasen, along with two vice presidents, followed a number of years of strategic discussions that began following significant financial losses for the university during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 fiscal years.
While improvements had been made, the board felt that the modest growth in revenue and student populations during these years did not match the scope and speed needed to equip the university for successful long-term operations and growth.
A 13-member presidential search committee will now be appointed, and will be made up of board members, university faculty, staff, alumni and student representatives.
The full board will meet again before the end of March to complete voting and endorsement of new faculty and staff appointments, the budget for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, and other unfinished business from its March 6 agenda.