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University of Rhode Island President Plans to Step Down


University of Rhode Island President Robert Carothers has announced his plans to step down as a $450 million state deficit puts pressure on him to cut costs while the campus is growing.

“The whole place, including me, is under a lot of stress,” Carothers said.

Rhode Island’s only university is in the middle of an accreditation review, which happens once a decade. At the same time, Carothers said faculty and administrators on campus are worried about how the state’s financial crisis could affect the higher education system.

Gov. Don Carcieri has said that all state departments will have to cut costs.

Carothers, 65, is not stepping down in response to any financial problems and he intends to explore other public service opportunities, a URI spokeswoman said.

As state funding for the school has fallen over the years, URI has tried to make up the difference by attracting more tuition-paying students. But now academic departments are struggling to provide enough classes and advisers for 14,800 students, an 800-student increase over last year.

“We are doing all we can with the resources we have, but we are concerned about having enough faculty and offering enough sections,” said Winifred Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Carothers said he plans to leave office when his contract expires in 2009, although he would consider staying for an additional year so a new provost could settle into office.

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