The Boston Globe reported on Friday that Brandeis University’s embattled president, Jehuda Reinharz, has resigned. In a move that many find to be slightly disingenuous, Reinharz makes no mention of the Rose Museum debacle as having anything to do with his decision to step down. As the Globe reports:
Reinharz, who became president in 1994, said he plans to head a major nonprofit group focused on issues facing the international Jewish community, but at the request of trustees will stay on until a replacement is chosen, potentially up to June 2011.
“This is not a decision I took lightly,’’ he said in an interview at his office yesterday afternoon. “I’ve poured a lot of sweat and blood into this place, which I love. But I think the time is right.’’
Reinharz dismissed suggestions that he is resigning under pressure arising from the museum controversy, saying he strongly considered stepping down in summer 2008 before signing a five-year contract extension. At 65, Reinharz said he felt the time had come to move on.
Interestingly, Reinharz could actually remain at Brandeis through June 2011, as he has agreed to stay on until the Board finds a suitable replacement. Read the article in its entirety here.
There still seems to be plenty of vitriol for Reinharz on the web, however. Reuters blogger Felix Salmon posted a blistering reply to the University’s press release later that day, stating:
The latest chapter in the Brandeis fiasco is that president Jehuda Reinharz is resigning, just one year after signing a new five-year employment contract. The official letters don’t once mention the name “Rose”, which is insane: how can Reinharz say with a straight face that he “will leave the University in good condition with a strong foundation on which to build in the future”, even as there’s still enormous uncertainty over the question of whether the university will have to sell millions of dollars from the Rose’s art museum just to make up its funding shortfall?
How unfortunate for everyone involved that a university president, who by all accounts did much to raise Brandeis’ profile during most of his tenure, has to go out on such a low note. The big issue here seems to be that Reinharz failed to truly understand the prestigious profile the Rose has in the art world, even as he was attempting to bring more recognition to the university. Or perhaps it’s just another story of bad choices made during a bad economy. Either way, one has to wonder what is next for Brandeis, and for the Rose, now.