During his two and a half tenure as president of the University of New Orleans (UNO) Peter Fos has overseen a series of high profile cuts. On Monday (8.31), the university chief announced one more cut: himself. Fos will step down as President on January 1, 2016.
The change was announced during a press conference yesterday. “Serving as the president of my alma mater has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream,” Fos said. “The University of New Orleans is incredibly special to me, and I have worked tirelessly to make it a better place for our students, faculty and staff. I believe that I have contributed all that I can, and it is because I care so much for the institution that I can say it is time for a new president to bring it to new heights. I also wanted to give the University of Louisiana System sufficient time for it to carry out a seamless transition.”
A NOLA native and UNO grad, Fos became the institution’s sixth president in January of 2012. A severe budget crisis stung the University shortly thereafter and came to define Fos’ term. Between 2008 and 2015, the school’s operating budget was literally cut in half.
In December 2014, Fos unveiled a plan to cut seven degree programs and one department from the school. Additionally, 22 positions including adjuncts professors, instructors, and library staff were all reduced through layoffs.
A faculty no-confidence vote in the plan followed the vote. This move is symbolic, but rumors about the impetus behind Fos’ departure continue to swirl.
Still, the brass praised the outgoing prez. “The Board and I express our gratitude to President Fos for his work over the past four years during a very difficult time for higher education,” said Sandra K. Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System. “No institution has faced more challenges than the University of New Orleans. We wish Dr. Fos well in his retirement and look forward to working closely with him over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition.”
Fos added that he will stay on to assist with the hunt for his replacement.