A year and a half into the job, the president of Michigan's Albion College, Dr. Mathew Johnson, officially resigned on Christmas Eve, reports The Detroit News.
His resignation came after he faced criticism and calls for removal from students, faculty and staff, who, among other complaints, say he ignored the concerns of minority students and implied that faculty of color were only hired because of their race.
"Johnson's 'my way or the highway' attitude has ruined morale and is driving Albion College to the ground. he [sic] has been shown bullying staff and students to get his way," states an anonymously written petition that had received more than 2,300 signatures.
In a news release, the Board of Trustees didn't mention the petition's complaints but praised Johnson for his leadership during COVID-19 and said that he would be "moving into an expanded role to lead a global initiative in partnership with the Carnegie Foundation." He will serve as president of the Commission for Public Purpose in Higher Education.
As the college begins a national search for a new president, trustee Joseph Calvaruso will serve as interim president. In a Christmas Eve letter, Calvaruso alluded to community concerns.
"The College has faced significant challenges during this time," stated Calvaruso. "I walk through the quad and feel the tension. I’ve received phone calls from alumni, faculty and friends in the community who have shared their concerns. ... I pledge to work hand in hand with faculty, staff, students and the Albion community to continue the day-to-day work that is so necessary for us to thrive."