UNLV President Jessup resigns

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Embattled UNLV President Dr. Len Jessup has resigned from UNLV.

In a thorough resignation letter released to the media Tuesday, Dr. Jessup wrote in part: 

“After thoughtful deliberation, I have accepted the position of President of Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in Claremont, California, one of seven of the universities in the prestigious Claremont consortium near Los Angeles. This is a bittersweet decision for both Kristi and me given the true love we have for UNLV and the enormous amount of love expressed over the past several weeks from thousands of colleagues and friends – both on and off campus. My official tenure as President of CGU will begin as of July 1.”

Knowledgeable sources told the I-Team last week that an announcement that Jessup was accepting a job with a prestigious California college could be made sometime this week. Jessup is UNLV’s fifth president since 2006 and has faced heated criticism from a few members of the Board of Regents. 

In his resignation letter, Jessup also addressed the issue between him and the University Board of Regents.

“On Friday, March 16, after approximately nine months of increased antagonistic, invasive, and consistent interference and animosity consistently expressed on behalf of the Regents by various Regents and the Chancellor, the Board of Regents thru Chairman Kevin Page and Chancellor Thom Reilly unequivocally stated its desire to bring my tenure to a conclusion, either through termination or by my resignation. Faced with this clear expression of the Regents’ wishes, it was agreed that I would instruct my attorneys to contact their attorney regarding a Separation Agreement, which attorneys for NSHE were to prepare evidencing my departure as UNLV President in May of this year.

On March 16th I complied with the request of the Regents and retained the services of O’Reilly Law Group who initiated contact with the NSHE’s designated attorney on that same day. As plainly stated in my contract (drafted by NSHE), as President of UNLV, I serve at the pleasure of the Regents. NSHE Chairman Page and Chancellor Reilly have made the Regents decision clear.  

UNLV/NSHE’s attorneys were by Monday, March 19 to have prepared the Separation Agreement terminating my employment. When they failed to do so, I and my attorneys ultimately took the initiative to prepare and submit a proposed Separation Agreement consistent with the terms of my UNLV contract and the Regents demands including that I remain as UNLV President thru this current semester and participate in our May commencement ceremony. At the request of the Regents, I have agreed to remain as President thru the May commencement ceremonies.

However, we have yet to receive a substantive response to the Separation Agreement forwarded to the attorneys for the Regents/NHSE. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic that NSHE will honor the Employment Agreement they drafted and which I signed. In this regard, I am also hopeful they will honor their covenant of good faith and fair dealing and that an amicable resolution can soon be realized.” 

In January, according to published reports, Jessup was advised by Chancellor Thom Reilly to find another job or risk being fired.

That news generated a backlash among UNLV faculty and administrators, and among major donors. One gift of $14 million, dedicated to funding a new building for the medical school, was rescinded because of the possible departure of Jessup.

Dr. Jessup ended his resignation on a very positive note and with a “GO REBELS” cheer.

“As I undertake my new responsibilities at Claremont, I will remain available and eager to cooperate with and assist UNLV to the extent realistic and I can be of assistance. Our love of and appreciation for UNLV will continue. It was truly an honor and a privilege to serve as President of UNLV. As I have often said, there is something very special about this university. UNLV will continue its ascent, of that I am confident. There are too many talented individuals associated with this great university, both on campus and off, for UNLV to do anything other than to take its rightful place as one of the most different, daring, diverse, dynamic, and important universities in the country.

Thank you again and again for all for your past, ongoing, and future contributions of time, talent, and resources to and for UNLV. I can assure you that those of us who are and committed to UNLV
each and every day are most grateful and appreciative.
I wish each and every one of you the very best now and in the future.  GO REBELS!”

Read Dr. Len Jessup’s entire resignation letter here.

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