Vailas denies boosters’ threat forced his retirement

After Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas announced his plans to retire Wednesday, the timing became a talking point.

The announcement came just days after ISU’s booster club threatened to withhold $80,000 in donations if Vailas and Athletic Director Jeff Tingey weren’t replaced.

According to the Idaho State Journal, Vailas said the boosters’ threat had nothing to do with Wednesday’s news.

“Nothing is more ridiculous,” Vailas told the Journal.

“This was a train already on its road.”

State Board of Education spokesman Blake Youde corroborated Vailas’ account. According to the Idaho Statesman, Youde notified the board of his plans, in writing, two months ago.

Vailas has been ISU’s president since 2006, an often rocky tenure.

In a lengthy news release Wednesday, ISU cited a list of Vailas’ accomplishments at the helm — including his work to help establish Idaho’s first medical school. The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is slated to open on ISU’s Meridian campus in 2018. In ISU’s news release, Gov. Butch Otter praised Vailas’ efforts to create the medical school, saying it “holds great promise for the future.”

As for timing moving forward, Vailas plans to stay on through June 17, 2018, when his contract expires. The State Board hopes to name a successor by next spring.

More reading: Coverage from Wednesday’s State Board meeting. Check back Thursday for the latest.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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