But goodbye's too good a word, babe
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
- Bob Dylan
The Times did quote a CGU spokesperson as saying, "...Klitgaard decided to resign over differences with the university's trustees involving strategic plans for the future...."
Klitgaard sent out a farewell note following his resignation on February 20th, saying that after taking a one-year break he plans on returning to his tenured teaching position at CGU in 2010:
From: Robert Klitgaard
Subject: Thank you
Dear friends and colleagues,
This afternoon you received a message from the Board of Trustees of Claremont Graduate University. For the reasons outlined in their statement, I have decided the right thing to do is to step down as president.
I know this is a surprise. Please know that I have only the warmest feelings for you, our university, and our trustees. I feel blessed to have been your president. Also please be assured that CGU is progressing well (except of course that our endowment, like everyone's, has fallen). You have created a superb strategic plan for CGU and excellent plans for each of the nine Schools that make up our university. Enrollments are growing in quantity and quality, and research funding is increasing rapidly. There is still so much to accomplish, and I know that you will continue to do your best to move our university upward and outward.
The Board has kindly allotted me a sabbatical period, and I'm available to help in any way I can. My family and I will remain here till this July, and then we'll go on a year's leave away from Claremont. My current plan is to return to CGU in the summer of 2010 and take up my tenured position as University Professor.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you and be your colleague. Go forth with your great work, with all your energy and idealism.
Claremont Graduate University
Klitgaard was following up on a message the CGU Board sent out earlier on February 20th:
Subject: Important Message from the CGU Board of Trustees
FROM: The Board of Trustees
Today we face unprecedented challenges and uncertainties from the extraordinary economic events confronting us. These circumstances pose a real threat to CGU as well as other institutions. For that reason, at its retreat earlier this month, the Board of Trustees took up the task of preparing the University to deal with the current circumstances and the unforeseen events that are ahead while continuing to work diligently to advance our mission and strategy. To address the emerging economic challenges we are enacting a two-fold approach: to focus greater efforts on raising new revenues to help offset the severe decline in our endowment, and put heightened attention on the university's fiscal, academic and operating priorities, plans and performance.
As this effort unfolded, the Board's views as the course to be taken diverged from President Robert Klitgaard's. On matters such as these, there is no right or wrong answer, of course, but Bob and the Board both strongly believed that any way forward in such challenging times must be taken with complete unison of leadership. Accordingly, effective today, Bob has decided to step down as President of CGU. Bob will be assisting the Board and CGU for a short time with an orderly transition, for which the Board is most appreciative. Thereafter, Bob will be taking a sabbatical and will no doubt be in touch with all of us regarding his future plans. The Board wishes to express its appreciation and thanks to Bob for the effort he has given on behalf of CGU during his tenure as President, and the Board looks forward to having Bob return as an active member of the CGU faculty should that be his decision upon the completion of his sabbatical.
Provost Yi Feng will take over chief administrative duties on an interim basis while a full-time Interim President is identified and retained. Dr. Feng will report directly to the Board until the new officer is named. While a search for a new President is conducted, the Interim President will have the full responsibilities of the permanent position, and with particular emphasis in these areas:
The Board of Trustees has great confidence in the future of CGU and our collective ability to address the challenges that lay ahead. We endorse the strategic mission of the University and we're confident that CGU will emerge from these extraordinary times as an even more distinctive institution.
- Fiscal planning and management, including preparation of a budget for 2009-10 and the next three years, which is flexible enough to correspond to changing economic circumstances;
- Improving CGU's underlying economics, including the enhancement of collaboration, pursuit of administrative and academic efficiencies and greater accountability and budget discipline so as to position CGU for continuing performance improvement;
- Enabling and supporting CGU's continuing commitment to academic excellence and leadership consistent with our current mission, vision and priorities.
Yi Feng didn't have much time to settle into his new title before CGU announced that Joseph Hough had been named CGU's interim president. CGU issued a press release about Hough that said, in part:
The Board of Trustees of Claremont Graduate University has announced that Dr. Joseph C. Hough, Jr. [right] will become the university’s interim president. Hough has agreed to lead CGU for the next 18 months while a formal search for a new president is conducted. His first day on campus is set for March 10.
He and his wife, Heidi, are returned residents of Claremont, where they lived for 25 years and raised their two sons. Hough served on the faculty of Claremont School of Theology and chair of the Religion Department of Claremont Graduate School. He also served as dean of the Claremont School of Theology from 1974 to 1987....
Most recently (1999-2008), Hough served as president of Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Hough wasted no time sending out his own greeting, making clear the fact that CGU has not been spared the pain of the current economy. The original Daily Bulletin report on the Klitgaard resignation observed that CGU is much less dependent on its endowment than other private institutions and its budget is 76 percent tuition-driven. That, coupled with the recession, probably explains CGU's recent 4% tuition increase. These are Hough's remarks:
Subject: A Message to the CGU Community from Interim President Hough
From: Joseph C. Hough, Jr., Interim President
I have been asked by the Board of Trustees to assume the position of Interim President of Claremont Graduate University during the process of transition involved in the search for a new President. I am pleased and honored to accept this invitation, and I shall work diligently to address some of the immediate issues that have emerged in the life of the university community. I do not come as a total stranger to this community, since I have had the privilege and responsibility for teaching and administration in Claremont Graduate University in the past. My memories of that time are good ones, and I look forward to engaging you in dialogue about the possibilities and challenges facing us at this time. The University is, of course, a very different institution now. You have developed a broader and more compelling vision. You have made significant progress in implementing that vision by implementing creative new initiatives and developing patterns of transdisciplinary teaching and research that auger well for the future of graduate education.
All of us know, however, that our future and the future of higher education in general are now clouded by the most serious financial and political crises of our lifetimes. Most of the world's banking system is highly unstable and near collapse, and major industries are close to bankruptcy and seeking government bailouts. The human costs of this financial crisis to Americans and all of our world neighbors are already staggering. Unemployment is rising and projected to continue rising, while housing foreclosures have forced millions of Americans out of their homes. And as yet, none of our experts seem prepared to estimate the ultimate cost or the end time to this situation.
The collapse of the world economy has created a severe financial crisis for all of higher education. Most colleges and universities have seen the value of their endowments decline twenty five percent or more. These sharp declines in the value of institutional endowments are already undermining plans for expansion and improvements of services.
Recent letters to their academic communities from the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the President of Harvard University both detail immediate major university-wide cuts in expenditures. Included are salary freezes, significant cuts in administrative budgets, cancellation of major building expansions already underway, and lower than anticipated rises in tuition. Other major private universities are canceling anticipated faculty searches, declaring hiring freezes, and postponing planned construction projects. Some universities and colleges, whose major source of revenues is tuition, are resorting to significant increases in tuition. This is in contrast to the strategy of MIT where planned tuition increases were actually lowered. In addition, the president has informed the faculty and staff of the necessity of raising sharply the levels of funding for financial aid in order to enable current students to remain in their programs of study and to encourage new students to enroll.
After candid conversations with Board of Trustees members, Provost Feng, Professor Schneider, and Vice President Garcia, I am beginning to grasp the degree to which Claremont Graduate University has been and will be affected by the same conditions that have already prompted the strongest universities in America to introduce austerity measures. I am committed to work diligently to ensure that our budget for 2009-2010 is reasonable in light of our resources and that our projected budgets take account of the full impact of the serious decline in our endowment. This is a commitment that is fully shared by the Board of Trustees. They have already made important and critical decisions that will move us toward a sustainable financial plan. In all of this, their concern and mine will be to preserve the academic strength of the institution while ensuring its financial stability in the future.
I am aware that there are no easy answers to the questions posed by our current financial situation, and I shall need your support and your ideas as we move ahead. On my part, I make four pledges to you. First, I shall make every effort to hear your concerns and take them seriously. Second, I shall hew the line on transparency, the necessary foundation for mutual trust. Third, I shall work with a spirit of collaboration and seek consensus where it is possible. Fourth, when consensus escapes us, I shall move ahead on those recommendations to the Board for actions that I think are in the interest of our common good, all the while giving clear reasons why the recommendations are, in my judgment, vital for the future of the university.
I look forward to meeting you and working with you. If at any time you wish to share ideas or concerns, I shall make every effort to arrange a time and place for that to happen.
With the economy maybe, just maybe, nearing bottom, we might see an end to these sorts of goodbyes and fare-thee-wells. We might even see a return to job and career stability.
Until then, here's to happier days.