Ithaca College president Tom Rochon will be resigning from his post effective July 1, 2017, he announced.
In a statement published on the college website, Rochon said, “This timing will enable the board of trustees the necessary time to organize and execute a thoughtful and comprehensive search for my successor.” Rochon’s decision to step down came as a consequence of months-long campus protests, which started in November, demanding his resignation.
NPR previously reported that in a vote last semester, faculty and students said they were not satisfied with the way Rochon handled racially charged incidents on campus. One of these incidents involved two white men using racially provocative language against a black student who took part in a roundtable discussion. While the incident prompted the president to bring in a chief diversity officer, it did little to abate the matter. A protest was organized by students of color, demanding Rochon’s indictment for his “incompetence,” as previously reported by The Ithacan.
The college has not “created the infrastructure to support students of colour,” Alyse Harris said.
Rochon had said during the protests that he was not willing to resign from his post. In his statement, he also said, “I believe it is best for IC to be led in the future by a president chosen by the board specifically to make a fresh start on these challenges, including those that became so apparent to us all last semester. It has been a privilege to lead the college through a time of challenge and change.” Rochon is now among other university administrators who stepped down in the recent past after protests were carried out by students demanding racial equality on campuses. Rochon said that he made the decision to resign “after much reflection over the winter break.”
The college said that it will be looking for a new president this summer and “solicit input from faculty, students, staff and alumni.” Rochon’s will step down effective July 1, 2017.