Trustees not told reasons for exit

The Daily Pennsylvanian

By Emily Babay

The Board of Trustees is the University’s highest governing body, but some trustees are still in the dark about the reasons behind the departure of former Dean of Admissions Lee Stetson.

About half of the trustees who spoke to The Daily Pennsylvanian said they had not been told why Stetson abruptly resigned in late August. Other trustees declined to comment and would not reveal if they knew why Stetson left.

University officials have refused to reveal the circumstances behind Stetson’s resignation, and Penn President Amy Gutmann has only said that his departure was in the “best interests” of Stetson and the University.

Gutmann may be pressed to elaborate on that statement when the Board of Trustees meets for its annual fall meeting at the Inn at Penn today.

In interviews with the DP, some trustees have expressed curiosity and anger with the lack of disclosure, saying they should know more about the situation.

“I damn well better get some better information” at the meetings, said one trustee who was granted anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding Stetson’s departure.

The trustee added that it is especially disconcerting that, besides not having been told why Stetson left, the Board of Trustees also lack information about current plans for the admissions office moving forward.

“I think we’ve been kept too much in the dark,” the trustee said.

In the months since Stetson’s resignation, the University has been extremely tight-lipped in protecting the reasons behind his departure, and few top-level administrators have been told about the circumstances behind the resignation.

Though trustees are not always briefed on decisions involving University administrators, some have expressed surprise that the University has not been more forthcoming to its highest governing board.

Trustees said they had been informed of Stetson’s resignation in an e-mail from the University, which was described by one trustee as “very short.”

The e-mail only indicated that Stetson was resigning, without further explanation or elaboration, trustees said.

Several trustees emeriti also said they did not know the reasons behind Stetson’s sudden departure.

While the trustees emeriti did not express the same anger as those more closely associated with the University, they did say they were curious about the situation.

“I will read it,” one said in reference to an explanation of Stetson’s departure, adding, “I’d like to know why he left.”

Stetson initially announced his resignation in July, after having served as dean of admissions for 29 years.

In August, however, his resignation suddenly and without explanation became effective immediately.

Stetson has not responded to phone calls for comment, and Gutmann and University spokeswoman Lori Doyle have repeatedly refused to provide further explanation for Stetson’s departure.

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