HAVRE — The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern announced his resignation on Thursday, saying he has become a distraction and an impediment to campus goals.
James Limbaugh sent an email to faculty and staff members saying he was resigning for the sake of the institution, effective Friday.
The Havre Daily News reported that residents began circulating a petition calling for Limbaugh’s ouster when football coach Mark Samson was forced to resign on Aug. 13 after it appeared football camp staff was paid without camp proceeds being run through university accounts.
Limbaugh said in his email that continuing controversy on campus and in the community “has become a significant distraction to the achievement of our common goals.”
Eric Feaver, president of the MEA-MFT, told The Associated Press that the faculty union had been considering holding a vote of no confidence involving Limbaugh.
Limbaugh came to MSU-Northern in January 2012 from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.
Northern issued a statement Thursday saying he was able to increase enrollment in the fall of 2013 and was praised by the Board of Regents for conducting reviews of its academic programs and deciding which should be grown, maintained, combined or eliminated.
One of his recommendations that was not supported by the faculty was to eliminate the secondary education program due to declining graduation numbers.
Montana State University President Waded Cruzado will select an interim chancellor.
“Even in his resignation (Limbaugh) is putting students first so MSU Northern can continue to move forward,” Cruzado said in a statement thanking him for his service.
The university has had other turnover among key employees.
Provost Rosalyn Templeton announced in August 2013 that she was going to resign in January 2014 after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against her.
During a Montana Human Rights Bureau hearing on the complaint by Dean Randy Bachmeier, Limbaugh said he perceived Templeton’s continued presence on campus as harmful to the institution and relieved her of her duties in October.
In addition, the director of Northern’s nursing department resigned in January after spending three weeks on administrative leave. The nursing program had been warned it could lose its accreditation for failing to have enough credentialed instructors on staff.
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