President Who Ousted 3 Chairs Will Step Down

March 22, 2018

Quentin D. Wheeler is stepping down as president of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in June, ending a tenure troubled by faculty votes against his leadership and a controversial overhaul of department chairs.

Wheeler will end his presidency June 30, before the start of the new academic year, SUNY said in a news release Wednesday. The state university system did not give a reason for his departure.

But Wheeler's relationship with faculty has deteriorated since he took over in 2014. More than half of faculty members voted no confidence in his leadership in 2016 amid complaints about his hiring, financial decisions and vision for the university, Syracuse.com reported. Then in December, the ESF Academic Governance body approved a resolution taking issue with Wheeler for not consulting with faculty members on plans including increasing enrollment.

Wheeler also angered faculty and students when he removed three department chairs in January. Wheeler emailed students saying the changes were for intellectual renewal and growth at the institution. Some students were dissatisfied with his stated reasons, reported WRVO.

Results of another faculty vote announced earlier this month showed 85 percent of ESF union members were against renewing the president's contract. Another 91 percent thought the college's finances need to be investigated.

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