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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Holtschneider dispels rumors, says resignation not a result of campus tension

On Monday, DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider announced he would step down at the end of the 2016-2017 school year after nearly 13 years as president. The announcement comes shortly after protests and racial tensions on campus reached their highest point following Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit.

In a brief meeting with Holtschneider, he dispelled rumors and ideas that his resignation was due to the protests and tension. The first weekend of March 2016, he met with the board chair to talk about his decision.

Rev. Dennis Holtschneider resigned Monday, to go into effect in the summer of 2017, after what will be 13 years as president of the University. (Photo courtesy of DePaul University)
Rev. Dennis Holtschneider resigned Monday, to go into effect the summer of 2017, after what will be 13 years as president of the University. (Photo courtesy of DePaul University)

While on retreat between Christmas and New Year’s, he considered the near-completion of the strategic plan and master plan, as well as the success of the “many Dreams, one Mission” capital campaign and growth of the university. Holtschneider felt that now would be a good time to let a new president step in and craft a vision for DePaul’s future.

“It’s time in ’17, next year, to start saying what are the next set of ambitions for DePaul,” Holtschneider said. “What does DePaul want to do next? That is a perfect time for an organization to bring in new leadership, as opposed to being in the middle of that. If I waited a couple more years I would’ve slowed down all the activity.”

The national average for a university president is around five or six years, Holtschneider is currently in his 12th. When his decision to step down was set he notified his religious superiors first, in January, followed by the Board of Trustee’s leadership in March and then, after a search for search firms to look for new presidents, a search team was chosen.

It was after this that the protests occurred and the noose was found on campus and Holtschneider sent the first email to the student body apologizing to the College Republicans — which angered some students and organizations — and another email atoning for what was left out of the first. Quelling rumors and false headlines, Holtschneider said that the decision was not impacted by the protests.

“They’re completely unrelated,” he said. “I actually felt bad when some students were talking about that, that I couldn’t tell them, but I hadn’t told the board yet. I had to tell the board first.”

Before the end of the school year, Holtschneider took part in town halls to address the concerns of students and faculty. Many statements from student organizations and within the faculty called for his resignation, but the news still surprised some, given his commitment to addressing concerns, a commitment Holtschneider said would be a focus of the summer and his last year as president.

“The resignation announcement comes as a surprise because of his recent commitment to addressing the issues that have plagued this campus,” Michael Lynch, senator for intercultural awareness, said. “With the SGA President sitting on the search committee. This is yet another indicator that we need a student Diversity and Inclusion Committee so that the SGA President is aware of the expectations that we have for the next President.”

Others saw the announcement as a victory for the student body. Ira Lowy, of Feminist Front, which called for Holtschneider’s resignation, said that the mishandling of issues, including sexual assaults and racism on campus show instances where “ justice was sought by the students and denied by the administration.”

“Father H’s decision, while it may have been made in advance of Feminist Front’s campaign for his resignation, is a victory for the student body” Lowy said. “From the handling of the student athletics sexual assault scandals to the recent racist outbursts on campus, Holtschneider has consistently mishandled key moments in our schools history. At Feminist Front, we are glad to see him go.”

In the next few weeks and the year to come, Holtschneider said he wants to devote the time to addressing issues of free speech and race. A lot of ideas, he said, were generated and he and others intend to pull all of the ideas together and think of what would be best for students. He also wants to raise more money for scholarships, renovations and new center on homelessness research. Since he has one year left, Holtschneider said, he’s going to go “all out” on the issues related to free speech and fundraising.

After he steps down, Holtschneider said he will work on two books and potentially return to teaching — he’s a tenured professor in the College of Education — unless he’s called away by the religious order. Until then, he’ll continue trying to address the issues within the student body, as well as prepare to step down.

“I think I need to spend time this year helping prepare for the next president so that they can have everything in very good shape for when they come and so that I can teach them DePaul well,” Holtschneider said.

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  • M

    MeJun 19, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Most Reverend Holy Father, keep holy the Eighth Commandment!

  • R

    RU_SeriousJun 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    SJWs are all for free speech, if you agree with them. Otherwise censorship.