Former Florida International University president explains sudden exit

The former president of Florida International University in Miami revealed the reasons for his sudden resignation last week: He said he had “caused a valued employee discomfort.”

In a statement recently released on Sunday, former president Mark B. Rosenberg said caring for his wife, who has advanced dementia and diabetes, was hurting his own mental health.

“Unfortunately, these issues trickled down to my work,” he wrote, adding, “I unwittingly created an emotional (not physical) entanglement.”

It’s the second high-profile outing this month by a college president. The University of Michigan fired its president, Mark S. Schlissel, on Jan. 16 after learning he had a relationship with a subordinate “inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university,” according to the board. university administration.

Mr. Rosenberg’s abrupt resignation on Friday after 13 years on the job came as a surprise. In an emergency meeting, the university’s board of trustees named Kenneth Jessel, the chief financial officer, as interim president.

In a brief resignation letter sent the same day, Mr Rosenberg, 72, simply cited his own “personal health issues”, as well as his wife’s deteriorating physical health.

“I am stepping back so that I can give my full attention to recurring personal health issues and the deteriorating health of my wife, Rosalie,” Rosenberg wrote.

The new statement was released by Dean C. Colson, chairman of the university’s board of trustees. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the events that necessitated his resignation,” Colson wrote, adding that the university “remains committed to implementing its policies thoroughly and expeditiously.”

A university spokeswoman declined to comment further.

But according to two people close to the administration, the investigation began around mid-December when a young employee told another colleague about Dr Rosenberg’s inappropriate behavior. The university hired an outside attorney, Eric D. Isicoff, to investigate. This investigation is ongoing.

Last week the woman sat down for an interview and the lawyer got texts showing communications between her and Dr. Rosenberg. The investigation led Dr. Rosenberg to resign on Friday.

The university, one of the largest universities in the country, must investigate all complaints of sexual harassment, but according to its policies, FIU officials can use their own discretion to find an “informal resolution” with an employee, before disciplinary action is taken.

Mr. Rosenberg began his career at the public research university, which hired him in 1976 to teach political science. He gradually rose through the ranks to eventually lead the university’s academic affairs department. After a stint as chancellor of the state university system, he returned to FIU in 2009 as its fifth president.

During Mr. Rosenberg’s tenure, a pedestrian bridge collapsed over the suburban college campus in 2018. At least six people died.

In December, Mr. Rosenberg told the Miami Herald that he had no immediate plans to retire.

“At some point I will resign, and we will have a new president, and I would expect them to pick up where I left off,” he said.

On Sunday, Mr Rosenberg said he had no plans to seek another term. He called his successor “the right person right now” for the university.

“I regret entrusting you with these details,” Mr. Rosenberg said in the statement. “I apologize. I take full responsibility and regret my actions.

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