UIUC provost steps down shortly after chancellor

Vacant positions make strategic planning difficult, says one professor

Another University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) administrator announced his resignation this week, Dawn Rhodes reports for the Chicago Tribune.

Provost Ilesanmi Adesida's decision to step down, effective Aug. 31, comes just weeks after former Chancellor Phyllis Wise vacated her position.

Adesida will return to his position as a professor in the electrical and computer engineering department. 

"I recognize that current controversies are causing distraction to the administration and the student body, and I do not want to contribute to those distractions," he said in his resignation letter to acting Chancellor Barbara Wilson.

His explanation closely resembles Wise's reasoning.

"I am deeply grateful to Ade for his dedicated service in many critical positions at Illinois over the last 28 years," President Timothy Killeen said in a statement. "I look forward to his continued contributions as an exemplary member of the faculty."

Email controversy

Adesida and Wise both used personal emails to communicate about university business since mid-2014. That system was apparently to protect messages from open records law, according to Rhodes.

However, an Illinois appellate court in 2013 ruled public officials' communications about official business are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests—even if the messages were sent from private accounts.

The emails in question were released shortly after Wise's resignation and many contained conversations regarding the decision to rescind a job offer to Steven Salaita after he made inflammatory comments on social media.

U of I sidesteps battle, accepts second resignation of Chancellor Wise

Moving forward on campus

Classes began this week on campus and students will likely not be affected by the administration shake up, says education professor Nicholas Burbules, a member the Senate Executive Committee.

Yet it is difficult to push forward with strategic plans while the vacant chancellor and provost positions remain vacant, he says.
"It's hard to set goals when the goals you're setting aren't necessarily the goals of the people who might be implementing them down the road. We'll get through this. There's a lot of people who are working very hard to make this university great and they're not going anywhere," Burbules says (Rhodes, Chicago Tribune, 8/24).

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