Provost Robbyn Wacker did not leave her position voluntarily as was said earlier this month, but was in fact asked to step down by UNC President Norton, according to a memo sent to UNC faculty and staff by Wacker’s office on Wednesday.
“On October 6, President Norton informed me that she wanted me to step down from my role as provost,” the memo, which was provided to the Mirror by a faculty member, said. “We all understand that provosts and other executive staff members are ‘at will’ employees and a president has the power and authority to ask a direct report to step down, for any reason or no apparent reason.”
The memo also admits that the claim shared in an email on October 12, that Wacker was stepping down voluntarily and moving to a fundraising position within UNC, was a cover.
“As you are likely aware, cover stories are often used in these situations to protect one’s reputation and future job prospects,” the memo said. “However, I knew I couldn’t continue to keep up the facade of a story that didn’t give a honest explanation for what happened.”
Wacker’s memo ended with what seemed like an attack on Norton without mentioning her by name.
“How can we use this moment to discuss broader questions of leadership and campus climate?” she wrote. “Let’s have meaningful conversations about vitally important aspects of our campus culture as we head toward significant changes in leadership. Let’s commit to and hold ourselves accountable for creating a campus climate that is based on principled leadership at all levels, one that establishes how we value, treat and engage each other in significant decisions, and one that promotes transparency and shared governance.”