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Quentin Wheeler to step down as president of SUNY-ESF in June

Quentin Wheeler

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Saying he is the “face of the change represented” by some on-campus initiatives, Quentin Wheeler plans to resign as president the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) effective June 30.

“Opposition to initiatives focused on the financial, academic, and research foundations of the College have become a distraction to our students, faculty and staff, and the administration,” Wheeler said in a message to the ESF community that the school forwarded to BJNN on Thursday.

“Too much attention is being diverted from the necessary work of the college by my continued presence. Therefore, I have decided that it is time to step down as president,” Wheeler added.

SUNY on Wednesday announced the change. Chancellor Kristina Johnson and the SUNY board of trustees will work with the SUNY-ESF board of trustees to appoint interim leadership for the campus to be in place effective July 1, and initiate a search for the next permanent president, SUNY said in a statement that SUNY-ESF also forwarded to BJNN.

Wheeler, SUNY-ESF’s fourth president, has served in the role since January 2014, succeeding Cornelius Murphy, Jr.

Union reaction

UUP “welcomes” Wheeler’s decision to resign, Frederick Kowal president of United University Professions (UUP), said in a statement released Thursday. UUP is the union for SUNY employees.

“As the union that represents SUNY ESF faculty and staff, we believe Dr. Wheeler’s departure is an important step toward improving morale and restoring calm at this fine school,” Kowal said. “Faculty, staff and students made their discontent with Dr. Wheeler known, and their strong, collective voice was heard. They spoke with their words and through a recent UUP ballot, where 85 percent of our members said that Dr. Wheeler’s contract should not be renewed.”

Kowal also indicated that SUNY’s leadership now “faces some important decisions” regarding the appointment of an interim president at SUNY-ESF.

“We are hopeful that all stakeholders — faculty, staff and students — will be part of this decision to ensure that SUNY-ESF’s interim leader will be someone who has distance from the turmoil of the current administration.”

Contact Reinhardt at

 Photo credit: SUNY ESF website


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