Ericke Cage, whom former West Virginia State University president Nicole Pride hired as her chief of staff shortly before her resignation, is stepping into the president role himself.
The WVSU Board of Governors voted Thursday, in a voice vote with no dissent, to name Cage the interim president. The vote came after the board members emerged from an hour-and-a-half long closed session called for personnel and other matters.
Cage, who also held the title of a vice president before Thursday, had been leading university operations day-to-day anyway since Pride resigned July 30.
“This is an outstanding institution that’s powered by a committed community of faculty, staff, students and alumni who are all 110% committed to the mission of this university,” Cage said.
“I’m humbled to have been selected by the board to serve as interim president,” he said. “It’s a position that I feel very confident in taking on and with the support of the senior leadership team, we will continue to keep moving forward.”
He declined to say whether he plans to apply for the permanent position.
Board Chairman Chuck Jones said the board has “no time frame” on when the permanent president will be hired.
“We’re in capable hands with Mr. Cage here,” he said.
“We have stability, continuity, and so we don’t feel rushed at all in order to choose our next president,” he said. “If it takes us eight months or a year, you know, it is what it is.”
Jones said there’s no written contract yet between the board and Cage. The board of the separate state Higher Education Policy Commission still must vote on approving a contract for him.
Pride resigned July 30 after most members of her senior Cabinet asked the Board of Governors in a letter to remove her “to allow for an investigation.”
Their letter was dated July 14. Cage was hired July 19, so he wasn’t one of the signatories.
“Condescending and abusive dialogue are common in exchanges with Dr. Pride,” the Cabinet members wrote. “Her harassing dialogue and bullying behavior have contributed to a ‘hostile work environment.’ Her executive leadership team has continued to dwindle as a result of a psychologically unsafe and chaotic work environment.”
Pride didn’t publicly respond to the letter at the time.
Cage arrived in Institute from Norfolk State University, where he held multiple leadership positions. He held several positions in higher education and government before serving at Norfolk State.