The president of the University of Arkansas, Joseph E. Steinmetz, announced on Thursday that he will officially step down on Friday, citing that “in today’s polarized society, trying to manage a university faces many challenges”.

Given this climate, he needs to “do the best thing for my family, and I am ready to make way for others,” he said in a message to the campus on Thursday evening.

He announced the news a few hours after a special meeting of the Board of Directors of the University of Arkansas System. The ten trustees met for more than an hour, mainly at the executive meeting to discuss personnel issues. They did not take any action, “not mentioned anyone’s name”, Arkansas Democratic Party Bulletin Report. In the announcement, Steinmetz thanked System President Donald R. Bobbitt and the board of directors, as well as his leadership team and the entire university community.Bobbitt told reporters Democratic Party Gazette Through a text message, he will consider “several options” for the interim prime minister and make a decision next week.

Steinmetz’s resignation caught many people off guard. College Senate Chairman Stephen Caldwell said that it went from “whispering to rumor to immediate resignation, all within about 24 hours.” The local TV station KNWA/KFTA, Thursday report An online account has been sharing “provocative photos” that appear to show Steinmetz. According to a KNWA/KFTA report, a university spokesperson told the media that the photo was an “obvious attack” and a “scam,” and added that the university contacted Twitter to understand that the account has now disappeared.

In the interview chronicleSteinmetz said he would rather not talk about the photos, adding that “anyone can post anything on social media, and the whole world believes it.”

He said that his decision to announce his resignation “may seem rash, but it’s not at all rash to me.” He described the large public research universities that responded to the Covid-19 pandemic in the past year and the recent strong response. Difficulties in opinion of the campus controversy. He said that his role is not so much a facilitator of dialogue as a “crisis manager.” This is a role he is no longer interested in.

“I always think that the biggest feature of higher education is the ability to reach consensus, and people can sit down and have this kind of civil dialogue on any issue,” Steinmetz said. “It doesn’t matter what it is. So what I have observed during my five and a half years as prime minister is that we are getting further and further away from that ideal. The current environment is “very different” from when he started working in January 2016. .

After student leaders criticized the government for repeatedly not supporting victims of sexual assault on campus, the Arkansas campus fell into conflict. This chronicle Reported beforeSteinmetz was also criticized for suggesting that the campus statue of US Senator J. William Fulbright be moved to a different location. A university committee that includes faculty, students, and alumni spent several months studying the issue and recommended that it be deleted. The segregationist Fulbright “voted against the interests of black students and supports values ​​that oppose the university,” The group said(The committee also suggested that it be named after the Academy of Arts and Sciences.) Steinmetz suggested moving the statue, which he called a “compromise,” which angered some lawmakers, who called it “abolished culture.” Democratic Party Bulletin Report.

In this case, there seems to be “two extremes” on both sides of the problem, Steinmetz said chronicleIn general, polarization has exhausted him. He said that in the last session, the bill passed by the legislature was often “inconsistent” with the views of the university community. At the same time, “In the past year, perhaps more than my entire academic career before, I have received more petitions and more letters containing the word’request’.”

He often tells students that when they are considering how to deal with their lives, they must choose a career or future that they love very much, and not be satisfied with anything less. “And I really don’t have that passion anymore.”

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