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Ithaca College president to step down

Solvejg Wastvedt
WSKG News File Photo

In a letter addressed to Ithaca College faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and friends of the school, President Tom Rochon announced he will retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, effective July 1, 2017.

"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," said Rochon.

Last fall, students and facultyorganized protests calling on Rochon to step down, amid growing frustration that was a long time in the making. They claimed he had failed to address racial incidents on campus and was leading the school in the wrong direction.

Both students and faculty conducted a vote of confidence for Rochon in November and December. About three-quarters of people who voted said they had no confidence in him as leader of the school. 

In an interview with WSKG, Rochon said, "I’ve been clear that I don’t intend to resign because of no confidence votes... My feeling is that as long as the board wants me to be president and as long as I think I’m able to lead the college forward in the opportunities that we have that I am going to continue in this office."

Looking ahead to the next year and a half, Rochon said in his letter today:

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.