UVM Trustees May Have Asked Fogel To Step Down

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(Host) University of Vermont President Dan Fogel announced in March that he would step down next year after ten years on the job.

At the time, Fogel said he had achieved many of his goals to grow the student population and launch new academic programs.

But internal university emails obtained by the weekly newspaper Seven Days suggest that trustees may have asked the president to leave.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) The newspaper has obtained more than 900 pages of documents and emails to report on a relationship between Fogel’s wife, Rachel Kahn-Fogel, and a UVM employee in the development office.

UVM trustees have launched an investigation into whether the relationship violated school policies and they have removed Kahn-Fogel from her volunteer role as a UVM fundraiser.

One of the emails uncovered by Seven Days was a note sent by Kahn-Fogel in April. The message was sent after the trustee chairman gave the couple a gift certificate for dinner to celebrate President Fogel’s tenure and his decision to step down.

Kahn-Fogel said the gift made her angry because – quote – "This is from the man who fired us."

But Trustee Chairman Robert Cioffi said the decision to begin the presidential transition was mutual.

(Cioffi) "And the subject had been discussed on many occasions in the context of the board’s regular review of Dan as it would be of any president. And as I stated in March, the timing of President Fogel’s decision felt right for both the board and for him. And as we approach the end of a ten year vision that has been largely fulfilled it just seemed like the right timing."

(Dillon) Cioffi said the board is grateful for Fogel’s vision and leadership.

Fogel also released a statement that said he did not know of his wife’s relationship with the UVM employee until after Seven Days began investigating. He said – quote – "my announcement in March that I would serve only 15 more months was made without reference to, or knowledge of, those deeply personal matters."

UVM trustees have launched a national search for a new president, with the goal of hiring Fogel’s replacement by the time he leaves in July of next year.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon. 

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