MEGAN COURTNEY | News Editor
No official announcement from the university had been made early Wednesday about who the acting president is after Michael Shonrock was placed on paid administrative leave on Tuesday.
Jerry Dobson, Shonrock’s attorney, said Shonrock’s contract allows Lindenwood to fire Shonrock without “good cause.” But if the university fires him without “good cause,” the school would owe him salary and benefits through May of 2020. Dobson estimated that amount to be between $700,000 – $800,000.
Dobson said that could cause “an enormous liability for Lindenwood.”
If Lindenwood does have cause for termination, Dobson said, the university has to “meet the strict definition of cause.”
“Our position is to have no cause on which to fire Shonrock,” Dobson said.
Shonrock could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday morning.
But on Tuesday, Shonrock confirmed that he had been placed on leave. He said he received a letter from the board of trustees chair, J. Michael Conoyer, on Tuesday morning, saying the letter contained no reason for the decision.
While Shonrock is on leave, he is being paid, but he is not allowed to be anywhere on campus besides his home, and cannot contact any university employees.
Prior to being placed on leave, Shonrock said that a contract extension had been discussed. In 2017, Shonrock earned $378,764 according to a document the university has to file with the Internal Revenue Service.
A board meeting is set for Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the J. Scheidegger Center, and Shonrock said his “gut feeling” is that only a small member of board members know about the decision.
Posy Durr, Lindenwood Student Government president, said she is upset with the board “because they lack transparency,” but because Lindenwood is a private university, “they don’t have to tell us anything.”
Student government is trying to remain neutral, Durr said.
“For those of us who attend the board meeting, we’re mainly there because we want answers,” she said.
Durr is encouraging students to attend the board meeting on Friday. It’s unclear whether the meeting will be open.
Chairman Conoyer could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.