AKRON, OH (WOIO) - The University of Akron and former president Scott Scarborough said Tuesday that they mutually reached an agreement that Scarborough should step down, effective immediately.
While the Chair of the University's Board of Trustees, Jonathan T. Pavloff, said "we mutually agreed that it was in the best interests of the university going forward to have a change in leadership," a representative of UA said at a press conference that the liquidated damages clause of Scarborough's contract would now kick in. That clause specifically states that it goes into effect "if the university terminates this agreement without cause."
Scarborough will now have a choice to make: He can accept the liquidated damages, which would be one year of his $450,000 salary paid over the course of 12 months, or Scarborough can decide to become a "full-time faculty member" at the university with an appointment of "not less than five years."
The decision comes after more than a year of controversy.
During Scarborough's tenure, more than 200 jobs and the university's baseball program were cut.
The state made the university refund more than $4 million to students, after UA increased student fees the state said it shouldn't have.
Scarborough also championed calling the university "Ohio's Polytechnic University," a slogan that eventually flopped.
"I don't think it was any one event or any one point in time, but the consistent review and analysis about the best path to move forward is what brought us to consensus at this time," Pavloff said on Tuesday.
Scarborough released a statement which said in part "I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve this great university...also to begin the process of change that is necessary for the university to succeed in the rapidly changing environment of higher education."
"The one thing we've learned over the past couple years: There is a tremendous amount of passion around the university community, in all of our constituency groups, and that passion is going to help us address the situation going forward," said Pavloff.
The university's interim senior vice president and provost Rex Ramsier, Ph.D., the University's chief academic officer will serve as university president until another appointment can be made.
Pavloff said that the board's top priorities are, and have been, "to address the financial and enrollment challenges the University faced and to work with our faculty and staff to enhance the quality of the educational experience our students receive."
The University of Akron Chapter of the American Association of University Professors issued a statement Tuesday about the resignation, saying that they "welcome the opportunity to work with Interim Provost Rex Ramsier and the university community to turn the page and move forward as one." The statement went on to read that the organization looks forward to "playing a significant role in the appointment of an Interim President, and ultimately, a permanent President for the University."
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