The University of Virginia’s dean of African-American affairs, M. Rick Turner, said Wednesday that he plans to retire at the end of the month.
Turner, who served as dean of African-American affairs since 1988, stepped down after he was linked to a drug case.
University officials placed Turner on administrative leave earlier this month after learning of an agreement he signed in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. In it, Turner admitted that he had lied about knowledge of the activities of a known drug dealer. Under the deal, Turner agreed to 12 months’ probation and may be called to testify in future court hearings.
An interim dean will be appointed to assume Turner’s responsibilities while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement. Associate Dean Sylvia Terry will continue to head the office until the interim dean is appointed, according to a statement from the university.
Turner, 65, was a vocal supporter of diversity at the sometimes-racially charged campus. During his tenure, the university attracted increasing numbers of Black students and maintained one of the highest Black graduation rates among the nation’s universities — 86 percent, compared to 42 percent nationally.
University spokeswoman Carol Wood says it was Turner’s decision to retire. She declined to discuss his court agreement and whether it was a factor.
“The university was going to do an investigation of the situation,” Wood says. “The investigation was closed with his decision to retire.”
— Associated Press
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