University Of Akron President Resigns After Financial Controversies

The university once spent $556 on an olive jar for his home.
University of Akron

University of Akron President Scott L. Scarborough plans to resign on Tuesday, following a number of controversies regarding financial decisions he made while leading the Ohio school.

The Board of Trustees encouraged Scarborough to resign, it suggested in a statement released Tuesday morning.

"The Board is charged with ensuring the effective governance, leadership and management of the University and, along with Dr. Scarborough, determined that new leadership is needed for the University to move forward and achieve sustained success in the future," the trustees said.

Scarborough took over in 2014, as the school faced a $60 million deficit.

"I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve this great University and work not only to address the challenges that were before it when I arrived, but also to begin the process of change that is necessary for the University to succeed in the rapidly changing environment of higher education," Scarborough said in a statement.

Many people, including university employees, disagreed with financial decisions Scarborough made during his tenure. A spring survey found that 89 percent of faculty members disapproved of the president's performance, and that nearly the same amount felt the school was worse off than it was two years ago.

Administrators faced pushback after spending $111,000 to determine that they should rebrand the school as "Ohio's Polytechnic University." The trustees said earlier this month that they were scrapping the unpopular nickname.

The administration tried to make up about $40 million of the university's deficit with unpopular moves such as laying off more than 200 staff members, renegotiating health care plans, cutting the baseball team and raising tuition and fees.

Documents also showed questionable spending from the university during Scarborough's time, such as renovations to his university-owned home that included dipping into an endowment to spend $556 on an olive jar and $838 on a makeup chair.

Those expenditures prompted student activist group Graduates Over Greed to make a video mocking administrators and depicting them as puppets made out of paper bags.

Organization members later uncovered newspaper clips from 1985 that revealed Scarborough had made several anti-gay remarks while serving on the student government at the University of Texas at Austin. Scarborough said his views have evolved, and that he sincerely regretted his past comments.

The Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors said it "welcomes the opportunity" to "turn the page and move forward" following Scarborough's resignation.

The university's provost, Rex Ramsier, will take over the president's duties until a permanent replacement is named.


Tyler Kingkade is a senior editor and reporter based in New York covering higher education. You can contact him at, or on Twitter: @tylerkingkade.

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