On the first day of the University of Illinois' fall semester, Urbana campus Provost Ilesanmi Adesida announced he's stepping down. His departure follows the abrupt resignation of Chancellor Phyllis Wise.
Adesida will return to a faculty position at the U of I next week, following three years as provost. Adesida's announcement comes two weeks after former campus chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned before the school released thousands of emails revealing her use of personal email to keep some university matters out of public scrutiny.
Provost Adesida is among the most frequent correspondents with Wise in those emails. Like Wise, he used a private email address. Using personal email accounts instead of university-affiliated ones made it possible for administrators to skirt Freedom of Information Act rules.
Earlier this month, University President Timothy Killeen hinted that more administrative shake-ups were possible after Wise's exit.
"Obviously an ethics investigation is being completed," Killeen told reporters. "Any additional personnel actions will be campus-led, not led out of the president's office."
The Urbana campus has a new interim chancellor, Barb Wilson, who told the Champaign News-Gazette that Adesida was not forced out, and that his resignation was a surprise.
Wilson says the campus provost is key to faculty recruitment and retention.
"I know how hard it is to recruit stars here," she said. "And we can do it, and we do it all the time but it's a constant piece of work. It's the provost and the deans that are doing that primarily."
The U of I is launching nationwide searches for both the provost and the chancellor, who will both take tenured faculty jobs at the school.