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Shirley M. Collado, became the principal of Ithaca College amidst student protests against racism, and led this New York private institution during a time of chaos Financial turmoil during the pandemic, Announced on Thursday that she would resign.

Corrado is one of the few Latino women who serve as university presidents. She will step down at the end of August, but she plans to continue serving as the interim president and “senior advisor” to the board in December.

In January of this year, she will become the president and chief executive officer of College Track, a non-profit organization designed to help underrepresented students pass through universities. Her four-year term in Ithaca was the shortest president in its 129-year history.

Higher education experts speculate that the pressure of leading the epidemic will Speed ​​up the departure of university presidents. By the end of 2020, this kind of outflow has not happened yet. There are reasons why the president will not leave immediately—for example, to maintain continuity in a crisis and project power in their institutions. However, as time goes by, experts say there may be more personnel turnover.

Corrado said the pandemic did not drive her out. But there is no doubt that she has been under pressure in the past year and before. As president, she must deal with declining enrollment rates and layoffs, as well as race, gender, and sexual misconduct.

Corrado tells chronicle In an interview, she planned to stay in Ithaca for a few more years, but the opportunity to lead College Track—which was consistent with her commitment to access, fairness, and service to first-generation and low-income students—was too good to give up. Leaving is her choice, not the college’s choice. She said: “My board of directors has been unwavering in its commitment to me.”

According to reports, she earned approximately $534,000 in 2018 as President of Ithaca. The latest data Available at chronicle’s salary survey. It is not clear how much money she can make in her new position. According to federal government data, her predecessor’s salary in the 2018-19 fiscal year was $253,000. claim tax.

Major layoffs

Leaving aside Covid-19, Corrado said she knew from the beginning of her presidency that the size and financial model of the college, which relies almost entirely on tuition income, needs to be “re-adjusted.” This”Population cliff“It’s imminent in the Northeast, and Ithaca’s faculty and staff are too big for the smaller student population in the future.

Collado led a strategic plan that she said was developed in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff. Last fall, after the pandemic caused a severe 15% drop in enrollment, Corrado said the college must speed up the process of layoffs.

“If you are to be bold and realistic, and align your resources with your values, you have to make difficult decisions,” she said. “You will not make a strategic plan that will only settle down.”

In October, Provost La Jerne Terry Cornish announced at a virtual faculty conference that nearly a quarter of the college’s 547 full-time faculty positions were on the cutting board.

Many professors and students question whether such drastic measures are really necessary. They wanted to know how Corrado proposed her goal for the future size of Ithaca College: to reduce it from 6,700 students in 2015 to 5,000. Some on campus believed that Corrado and other senior managers never fully explained their decision.

“Through co-governance, we could have come up with a creative way to keep everyone on board while we sailed in these dangerous waters,” said Sandra Steingraber, who is in charge of After being a resident scholar for 18 years, he left Ithaca in May.

Steingraber’s job was not cancelled, but her job at Ithaca College did not see a way forward because many of her colleagues were fired-a result that made her continue to feel uneasy. She is now a senior scientist in the Science and Environmental Health Network.

Steingraber said that at the faculty meeting in the past year, some professors predicted that Corrado would lay off staff and leave immediately. Steingraber said this is a common phenomenon in the corporate world: “Someone is hired to monitor the massacre, and then they quit. At the same time, people’s lives are destroyed by all this.”

Corrado said that she and other leaders have always been transparent and have considered the different views of the entire organization. She said she would not do anything different. “Our industry has many difficult realities, but you have to name them and talk about them publicly,” she said.

Dan Brin, the head of the Ithaca branch of the American Association of University Professors and an associate professor of English, said that the governance problems that have plagued the college in the past year have been greater than any administrator.

Brin wrote in an email: “I hope the Ithaca College community will use this transitional period to consider how to fully incorporate the voice of all campus electoral districts into decision-making.”

Implicit criticism

When Corrado arrived in Ithaca in 2017, the college was being protested by students of color who said they felt unwelcome in this predominantly white school. Student activists were angry about several race-related campus incidents and demanded the resignation of the current principal Thomas R. Rochon.Luo Xiong Step aside inside Summer 2017.

Corrado’s arrival is a vocal supporter of marginal students and an advocate against inequality. To many on campus, this seems to be an important step forward.

Since 2001, her first year in the office has been undermined by publicly disclosed allegations of sexual abuse. The occupational psychologist at the time, Collado (Collado) did not dispute an allegation of putting his hand on the breast of one of her patients. The board of directors of Corrado and Ithaca stated that they were arrested in her This issue was discussed before hiring. Corrado denied all wrongdoing and stated that she filed a defense because she did not have the money to fight the lawsuit.

On Thursday, she said: “I do not intend to comment on this because I have already commented on it many times. Long before I became Dean of Ithaca College, I was completely open to my whole life.”

As president, Corrado said she has put racial equality at the center of decision-making.She announced that she wanted to go to college Diversity and inclusive country modelIn 2018, she appointed Cornish as the Provost, a longtime professor and administrator of Goucher College and a black woman. It is rare for two women of color to lead a university.

As the outrage over teacher cuts swelled in the last school year, Corrado and Connish said they felt that some of the criticisms of their leadership were racially and gendered.

When asked if she thinks her departure is an example of a “glass cliff”-the phenomenon described by the researchers, when the probability of failure is high, women and people of color are used to lead the crisis-Section Rado said that the cliffs are “very real” in general, but “not unique to Ithaca.”

When Corrado left, Belissa Gonzalez said she clearly saw the influence of race. “To be honest, this is a very familiar story for me,” said Gonzalez, an associate professor of sociology and director of the Ithaca Center for Culture, Race and Ethnic Studies.She said that Corrado is another woman of color in academia. She faces great criticism and disrespect because Nicole Hannah-Jones I did it at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gonzalez did not blame Corrado, Like Hannah JonesBecause I want to go elsewhere.

In Gonzalez’s view, given the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic, Corrado unfairly took the pressure on the difficult decisions that had to be made.

Some in Ithaca criticized Corrado and Cornwall as outsiders who reshaped the academy without serious consulting with long-term faculty and staff. Steingraber, a former resident scholar, said that calling these women “outsiders” is racist. But she still believes it is important to hold them accountable for decisions she considers harmful.

According to a statement from the board of directors, Dean Cornwall will serve as Ithaca’s interim principal for the 2021-22 school year. The statement stated that the board will spend time “thinking and evaluating the best way to recruit a new president.”

Corrado said she was not sure whether she would seek another university president. She said she was focused on leading the College Track, which she described as “a long-term decision.” She does not think that her resignation is a departure from higher education. She just plans to promote change from a different perspective.

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