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Thursday 1 December 2022
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Ithaca College President Retires Following Student Protests

By Staff

 

Photo from People of Color at Ithaca College's "Solidarity Walk Out" Facebook event.

Photo from People of Color at Ithaca College’s “Solidarity Walk Out” Facebook event.

Ithaca College President Tom Rochon has announced he will be stepping down from the position at the college in 18 months.

Rochon made the announcement in a letter posted on the school’s website, after students had protested, and called for his resignation last semester.

Ithaca was one of several colleges to hold protests in November, after students alleged the mishandling of incidents regarding racial discrimination, as well as a lack of diversity on campuses.

And, although Rochon did not specifically site the protests as the reason for his retirement, he said he believed it was best the school chose a new leader, in light of the challenges the school faced “last semester.”

Read Rochon’s full letter below:

Dear Ithaca College Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, Alumni, and Friends:

After much reflection over the winter break, I have decided to retire from the Ithaca College presidency effective July 1, 2017, following the 2016–2017 academic year. This timing will enable the board of trustees the necessary time to organize and execute a thoughtful and comprehensive search for my successor.

I am proud of the progress and accomplishments achieved by the college over what will be a nine-year tenure as president. Together we have created and implemented the key elements of an ambitious strategic plan, IC 20/20. We brought new levels of excellence to areas that needed our concerted focus, including consistency of academic advising, support of community-based learning, development of a student-alumni mentoring network, and the establishment of a general education program that is destined to become a national model. Our ICNYC program in New York City has joined our long-established centers in London and Los Angeles as an opportunity for students to combine coursework and internships in one of the world’s greatest cities. The Center for Faculty Excellence and the flexible faculty workload model both create additional opportunities for faculty to offer the truly excellent educational experiences that have long characterized Ithaca College.

Perhaps most important in this era of economic constraints, we have introduced administrative and operational efficiencies that preserve first-class, student-oriented service while enabling us to hold tuition increases down to historically low levels and more than double the college’s financial aid budget to nearly $120 million projected for next year.

At the same time, I recognize that colleges evolve through eras defined by new opportunities and challenges. 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. I look forward to working with the college community over the next 18 months in a constructive and collaborative way, making progress on issues of diversity and inclusion, shared governance, and decision making. I also want to work toward reestablishing a stronger and more unified sense of the educational vision and cultural values that make Ithaca College so distinctively excellent. I am fully committed to working toward these outcomes and urge the community to join together to help prepare the college to attract a highly qualified leader to succeed me.

Ithaca College is a very special educational environment, centered on student learning and development across liberal arts and professional fields and committed to the highest ideals of creating an inclusive community of justice and respect. It has been a privilege to lead the college through a time of challenge and change. I look forward to working with the campus community in the months ahead, and to supporting the board in any way I can during the search and transition to a new president.

Sincerely,

Tom Rochon
President

Visit http://www.ithaca.edu/intercom/article.php/20160114104810953#.VpfSvTZdHD4 to view Rochon’s announcement.