‘Boards of trustees seem to favor whatever out provides the quickest and quietest separation with a president in the hope of avoiding extended litigation or bad PR’
Embattled Oregon State University accepted the resignation of President F. King Alexander after less than a year on the job. His tenure ended late last month after public scrutiny over his involvement in sexual misconduct proceedings while president of Louisiana State University.
As a part of his severance package, Alexander will receive a year’s salary from OSU totaling approximately, $600,000 as recompense for his nine-month stint with the university.
“Alexander’s resignation is effective April 1, but he will be on administrative leave until then. His resignation comes with a settlement agreement that will pay him an additional year’s salary, around $600,000,” USA Today reports.
The allegations against Alexander come after an audit conducted by Husch Blackwell law firm uncovered sexual misconduct reporting errors during his 2013-2019 term at Louisiana State. According to the report, LSU systematically mishandled sexual abuse cases despite persistent complaints. It was published in early March, a few weeks before Alexander resigned from Oregon State University.
“I offered my resignation to the Oregon State University to allow us to move on. Students have and always will be my top priority,” USA Today reports Alexander said.
In an email to The College Fix, Connor Murnane, director of communications at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, commented on the increase of severance packages.
“These outsized packages … are becoming increasingly common in higher education. Boards of trustees seem to favor whatever ‘out’ provides the quickest and quietest separation with a president in the hope of avoiding extended litigation or bad PR,” Murnane said.
OSU is not the only example. Past Illinois State University President Timothy Flanagan served for seven months. His compensation: about $480,000, NPR Illinois reported in 2014.
Unlike schools that require performance metrics in their contracts, such as Purdue, to determine salaries, job security, and potential severance, OSU and ISU both opted for allocating taxpayer funding to push high-level administrators out, Murnane said.
Their actions highlight a growing trend.
“In recent years, administrative bloat has been a major driver of tuition increases at countless institutions,” Murnane said.
At Oregon State alone, this included a spike in administrative costs per student “from $3,522 in 2016 to $4,035 in 2018” despite a similar drop in expenditures, according to HowCollegesSpendMoney.com.
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