Public College President Gets Prize Of Up To $1.5 Million For Being Fired

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Blake Neff Reporter
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The president of University of Akron, a public college in Ohio, is being given a deal worth between $450,000 and $1.5 million in return for resigning his post after a disastrous two-year tenure.

Scott Scarborough quickly alienated both students and faculty with a variety of questionable decisions. Previously, the provost at the University of Toledo, Scarborough was brought in to boost enrollment at the 25,000-student school while also fixing troubled finances.

Instead, Scarborough became the center of a host of controversies that quickly made him deeply unpopular. Most notably, he attracted national attention last August when it emerged the school had spent over $900,000 renovating his home, while simultaneously making $40 million in budget cuts and eliminating over 200 jobs.

Shortly after taking office, he asked administrative employees to sign a “statement of principles” (which included a pledge to throw away one’s garbage) and threatened to fire them if they violated it. He also raised eyebrows by considering a name change to Ohio Polytechnic University and by paying $840,000 to a contracting firm to provide “success coaches” to the school.

By February, the school’s faculty senate had had enough, and passed a no-confidence motion by an overwhelming 50-2 vote. Now, the board of trustees has done the same. On Tuesday, the school announced Scarborough had agreed to step down as president, effective immediately. Board of trustees president Jonathan Pavloff said both the board and Scarborough had concluded “new leadership is needed” to improve the school’s situation.

But Scarborough certainly won’t have suffer for his early departure, as he will instead receive a lush severance package. Under his contract, since he is not being fired for cause (a classification limited to wrongdoing, not mere ineffectiveness), Scarborough can choose to either have his position bought out for $450,000 (one year’s salary), or be hired as a professor at the business school on a five-year contract worth $1.5 million.

He will, however, have to move out of his freshly renovated house by September, so it can be given over to the next president.

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Blake Neff