Hogan Resigns as U of I President


University of Illinois President Michael Hogan has resigned amid criticism from faculty and students.

"It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as President of the University of Illinois," Hogan said in a statement. "While the University has faced some significant organizational and budgetary challenges over the past several years, we have initiated the reforms necessary to modernize and streamline our business functions and redirect the savings to academic purposes. The underpinnings of this great institution are sound."

Hogan took over at the University of Illinois in 2010, in the wake of an admissions scandal there.

The Board of Trustees Executive Committee is expected to name Robert Easter to succeed Hogan at a meeting on Friday in Chicago. Easter, who served as interim Chancellor & Provost, will take over as president July 1, for a two-year term.

"Now, as Mike has decided to move on, the Board of Trustees has asked me to assume the mantle of leadership of this great institution as its President. I do so with pride, but also humility-with eagerness, but also enormous respect," Easter said. "I am committed to our students and all of our campuses. And, it is for this reason that I accept the responsibilities as President and pledge to move forward energetically and collaboratively with an agenda that reaffirms the University of Illinois' special place among the very best of institutions of higher learning in the United States."

Trustee Karen Hasara said that Easter is a good choice for U of I president, because he is well known and respected throughout the university community.

State Rep. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who is a graduate and a student trustee of the University of Illinois, said he supports the appointment of Easter as the university president-designate. Rose said as a U of I faculty member, Easter is someone everybody trusts.

"I just hope they give him a long enough contract that he can move us forward," Rose said. "I mean I don't want to see some other search, you know, for somebody else. I mean the U of I has this history of always looking for some guy from Michigan or some guy from Stanford. Forget that. The right guy has been here the whole time."

In the email, Chairman Chris Kennedy suggested the U of I's next leader should be "a proven administrator with a track record of collaboration and success within our University."

Hogan had been criticized by faculty and students for weeks for allegedly not listening to the concerns. He has been under pressure for months as faculty complained about his management style and plans for the campus. His chief of staff resigned over anonymous emails intended to win faculty support of an unpopular enrollment management plan. Hogan was cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident.

Kennedy said earlier this month that he expected Hogan to improve his relationship with the university community within a couple of months. In an interview on March 8 after that meeting, Hogan said he would redouble efforts to better communicate with University faculty and students.

"I've spent a lot of time with faculty. I've spent a lot of time with faculty governance groups, but I have to take it up a notch," Hogan said. "I really have to persuade people that not only I am in the room with them, I'm actually listening to them. I'm not only seeking their advice, I'm profiting from what they have to say."

Joyce Tolliver is an Associate Professor of Spanish, and Vice-Chair of the Academic Senate Executive Committee. Tolliver said Hogan's exit was difficult, but it had to happen. She also wished him well.

University of Illinois entomology professor May Berenbaum was on a committee that hired Hogan, but had signed two recent letters calling for his resignation. Both letters were signed by more than 100 faculty members. Berenbaum said she was surprised to learn about Hogan's resignation.

"It's just an unfortunate situation all around. It wasn't supposed to go this way. That's all," Berenbaum said. "I have every confidence that our campus will recover from this. I mean this has been difficult, but I am absolutely sure that we can move on successfully."

Professor Laura Greene said Hogan's resignation is "good for the university." She was also one of more than a hundred faculty members who signed a letter asking for Hogan's dismissal. Greene said she opposed plans to consolidate the university's admissions system.

"For this particular university system, I think it's important to maintain the strength of each campus," Greene said.

U of I student Keenan Kassar is a Senator-elect on the Urbana campus. He helped organize a student demonstration last week to speak out against Hogan's leadership. Kassar said the next president of the University of Illinois should be someone who can repair the U of I's reputation, and prevent additional scandals from happening.

"With Hogan we ran the risk of our reputation dropping," Kassar said. "He was seeking of repairing it, but he was the one damaging it. I don't think it's damaged beyond repair. I just hope we don't get anyone who does damage it."

Trustee Karen Hasara said it was clear that public dissatisfaction with Hogan was high in the university community, for his handling of his enrollment management proposal. She said trustees took the latest letter signed by chaired faculty calling for Hogan's quick departure very seriously. But Hasara said it was Hogan's resignation was his own decision --- and not due to pressure from trustees.

"I don't know that we ever suggested that he resign," Hasara said. "We certainly discussed with him what we thought needed to happen, and he actually was receptive to that. But I think in the final days, he just realized that it was going to be better if he did step down."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is an ex officio member of U of I's Board of Trustees, said in a statement he respects Hogan's decision.

"I would like to thank him for taking on the challenge of heading our state's flagship university during a difficult transition period," Quinn said.

Quinn also commented on the decision to appoint Bob Easter as university president-designate.

"I have confidence in his (Easter's) leadership and ability to continue moving the state's largest university forward," Quinn said.

Hogan will stay with the University of Illinois as a history professor.

Story source: WILL