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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dogged by controversy, FAU President Saunders steps down

Florida Atlantic University President Mary Jane Saunders was dogged by a series of controversies in the past year, including defending a professor who asked students to stomp on a paper after writing the name "Jesus" and a failed attempt to name the football stadium after jail contractor Geo Group.

The the school announced today that she resigned late Tuesday, acknowledging that the repeated dustups had taken a toll.

“There is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the University community," Saunders wrote in her resignation letter, according to an excerpt posted on the school's website. "The issues and the fiercely negative media coverage have forced me to reassess my position as the President of FAU. I must make choices that are the best for the University, me and my family.”

Saunders served as FAU president for three years. The school's Board of Trustees will likely launch a national search to name her replacement at the Boca Raton-based school, and an interim president will be in place by the fall.

Dennis Crudele, FAU’s senior vice president for finance and administration, was named the acting president, effective immediately.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:53am]


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