LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Calling the situation “shameful” and “emblematic of a broken system,” an education leader slammed the Nevada Board of Regents as Chancellor Melody Rose’s resignation became official on Friday.
Rose’s resignation, which became public knowledge this week when a separation agreement was placed on the agenda for today’s Nevada System of Higher Education meeting, ends her short tenure leading the state’s universities and colleges. She took office in September of 2020.
“The departure of Melody Rose is shameful and, equally, not surprising whatsoever based on the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents’ horrendous track record,” said Kris Engelstad of The Engelstad Foundation in a statement sent out Friday afternoon. “We have now had six NSHE chancellors in six years.”
Engelstad’s disgust with the situation was shared by Kimberly Simmonds, who filed a public comment.
“The Board of Regents is full of overpaid bullies that never see any kind of repercussions for their actions,” Simmonds said, stating that the public would be “aghast” if they ever took the time to watch NSHE’s meetings.
The board’s vote was 9-4 to approve the terms of Rose’s separation agreement, which will pay her $610,000. Only two of the regents attended the meeting in person, and Rose was not present, according to accounts of the proceeding.
“Every single time there is a national search for someone new, taxpayer money is thrown into the fire, with each search costing $150,000 to $200,000,” Engelstad said. “Adding fuel, there are contract buyouts – many of which are $500,000-plus each and drag on for decades. This is all an absolute atrocity that is emblematic of a broken system.”
Rose’s departure followed months of tension in which she filed a hostile workplace environment complaint in October. The complaint was ultimately rejected by a third party brought in to investigate, due to a lack of evidence.
Vegas Chamber CEO Mary Beth Sewald also condemned regents during public comment.
“Your actions are damaging the reputation of our entire state in the eyes of many, including businesses in need of a stable and cooperative higher education partner,” Sewald said. She was on the search committee that selected Rose as a candidate for the job.
“Today’s vote strongly reinforces why the State Legislature and the voters of Nevada must pass significant higher education governance reform for the sake of our students, our economy, and all Nevadans,” Sewald said.
Engelstad echoed, “If there has ever been a time for this abysmal system to be overhauled, it is right now.”