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.