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UCF Chooses Thad Seymour As Interim President

UCF's 5th President Dale Whittaker talks with students on July 2, 2018. Whittaker announced his resignation. Photo: Christen Kelley

The University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees has accepted the resignation of President Dale Whittaker.

An online petition urging the board to keep Whittaker has already garnered more than 5,300 signatures. At a standing-room only meeting today, dozens of students, faculty and staff asked the Board of Trustees to reject Whittaker’s offer of resignation. Students held signs saying “Dale or no deal” and “If there’s a Whitt, there’s a way”.

Former UCF Faculty Senate President Manoj Chopra urged trustees to keep Whittaker.

“The bar for presidential removal and resignation is much higher,” Chopra said. “We have seen that in the country right now where there are criminal cases, where there are sexual assault cases and there are other cases. This doesn’t even come close to rising to that level.”

Many of the students and faculty who spoke said the university would be bowing to political pressures from the legislature. Some members of the board openly talked about their fear that there could be repercussions from the legislature if they don’t accept Whittaker’s resignation.

Board Chairman Robert Garvey called it a “day of loss” for UCF.

“It is with great disappointment and sadness that I vote yes to accept Dr. Whittaker’s offer of resignation,” he said.

Joshua Boloña, the student government president, also sits on the board of trustees. He was one of three votes to reject Whittaker’s resignation.

“On behalf of students and the right thing to do, I vote against the resignation,” Boloña said.

Vice President for Partnerships and Chief Innovation Officer Thad Seymour has been named interim president, but will need to be confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors if he plans to continue in that role.

After the vote, UCF tweeted a thank you to Whittaker.

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Abe Aboraya

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