The weird resignation of Brandeis’s president

By Felix Salmon
September 25, 2009
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?

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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?

Reinharz explicitly denied, in an interview with the Brandeis Hoot, that his decision had anything to do with the Rose — while admitting that PR surrounding his resignation would be handled by the same crisis-management firm that was hired after the Rose news broke and the university’s own communications officers utterly botched the way they dealt with the announcement. There’s certainly nothing in Reinharz’s stated reasons for his resignation (“It is now time for me to enter the next chapter of my professional life”) which explains what has changed since a year ago, when Reinharz signed his five-year contract.

With any luck a new president will be found soon, who has no personal association with the decision to close the Rose — and who might be able to better cope with the attention now being paid to that beleaguered museum.

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