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University of Akron Begins its Search for a New President

Student Union, University of Akron
University of Akron
University of Akron
Board President John Pavloff says no single reason lead to the university and Scarborough parting ways.

Scott Scarborough is no longer president of the University of Akron. Today, the trustees approved what was called a “mutual agreement” with Scarborough for him to step aside.

A Q&A with Tim Rudell and Jeff St.Clair

Board chairman Jonathan Pavloff said no one thing precipitated the decision. Instead, nearly two years of unpopular responses to financial challenges, including layoffs  and controversial moves to change the direction and character of the university, made a leadership overhaul necessary.

“The one thing that we’ve learned over the past couple of years is that 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.”

The Faculty Senate  is among the university constituencies that actively opposed some of the changes, as well as  the style of change during Scott Scarborough's administration. In February of this year, it voted 'no confidence' in  his  leadership by a 50-2 margin.

Bill Rich, chairman of the group's executive committee, said after Scarborough's resignation and Pavloff's comments that the trustees recognizing the passion in the community for the university is an important step.  But he said, "the question is, what lessons have they learned?"

"We are all going to have to wait and see what kinds of course corrections they make in the future, and whether they do it differently."

Scott Scarborough had to reverse several of his initiatives, including higher fees for upper classmen, a deal with a local startup to improve freshman retention, and the re-branding of Akron as "Ohio's Polytechnic University."

Interim Provost Rex Ramsier will lead the university until a replacement for Scarborough is found.  Mayor Dan Horrigan is among those pressing the trustees to involve students, faculty, alumni and the community in finding a permanent successor.

Scarborough now has a personal choice to make. The provisions in his contract if he's terminated for reasons other than cause call for him to either get  a buyout equivalent to one-year of his compensation --about $450,000 -- or become a professor in the university's business school with a five-year compensation of nearly $1.5 million.