UND President Robert Kelley Is Leaving Six Months Early And Presumably $160,000 Poorer

In the middle of an increasingly rancorous relationship with faculty and students embattled University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley announced his resignation this week.

Since that announcement, apologists for the university system have been busy trying to spin the situation, the worst example beingĀ yesterday’sĀ Grand Forks Herald editorial which praised Kelley for leaving behind so many challenging problems his predecessor will “relish” addressing.

Up is down. Black is white. Incompetence is competence.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Under his current contract Kelley is making $350,265 per year, or $29,188.75 per month. Leaving approximately five and a half months before his contract is up would presumably see Kelley leaving behind over $160,000 in salary.[/mks_pullquote]

Anyway, what’s interesting is Kelley’s choice of resignation dates. He announced that January 14 will be his last day on the job, but his contract isn’t up until the end of the 2015/2016 fiscal year.

“His contract is set to expire June 30, 2016,” reports Anna Burleson in the Bismarck Tribune today.

That’s curious timing.

One would expect that Kelley would be leaving some money on the table by not completing his contract. Not a small amount of money either. Under his current contract Kelley is making $350,265 per year, or $29,188.75 per month. Leaving approximately five and a half months before his contract is up would presumably see Kelley leaving behind over $160,000 in salary.

That’s a big chunk of change for anyone to leave behind (assuming he’s leaving it behind, I’ve put in a request for any sort of a separation agreement with Kelley). So, why is Kelley leaving it? Keep in mind, too, that January 14 is halfway through an academic year. Wouldn’t Kelley want to see one more spring commencement at this institution which supposedly means so much to him before retiring?

The spin coming from university officials and others eager to whitewash the situation is that Kelley had been considering his retirement for some time, but you’d think that if this was just a long-time university president in his 70s deciding it was time to call it a career wouldn’t he finish his contract? Not to mention one last academic year?

There is more going on here than meets the eye, I believe. Not that there’s anyone in the university system with the integrity and honesty to shoot straight with the public about it.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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