University Addresses Questions About Theobald Termination

Updated 7/14/16

Temple University’s administration released a question and answer document Thursday to their faculty and staff about the decision to terminate President Theobald.

The document, sent internally throughout the university, says that despite overspending, Temple is financially stronger than it has been in recent years. The document also goes on to state that programs established under Dr. Theobald, such as Fly in Four and Temple Option will remain.

Below is the question-and-answer document sent out by Temple, followed by the rest of our original story on Dr. Theobald’s termination:

What happened?

  • On Tuesday, July 12, the Temple University Board of Trustees issued a vote of no confidence in Dr. Neil D. Theobald as President of the University. The Board will seek Theobald’s dismissal at a meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Why is the board seeking to dismiss the president?

  • The Board’s decision is based in part on the events that led to the removal of Hai-Lung Dai as University Provost on June 28.  Significant concerns were raised with regard to the overspending of the financial aid budget by $22 million. Managing the budget is the responsibility of the president; therefore the Board is compelled to seek Dr. Theobald’s removal as President.

Is money missing from the budget?

  • No. The overspending is the result of higher-than-expected numbers of highly talented students coming to Temple who are eligible for merit aid.  For Fall 2016, Temple has seen a 17 percent increase in the number of high school graduates with GPAs over 3.0, and incoming freshmen with 1300+ SAT scores have increased 29 percent. Having larger numbers of merit-eligible students is actually a good problem to have, but the budget implications were managed poorly.

Who is taking the helm at Temple?

  • Long-time Temple leader, former Acting President and current Chancellor Richard M. Englert has agreed to serve once again as Acting President.  It is the Board’s intention to formally appoint Chancellor Englert as Acting President at its meeting on July 21st.

It sounds like Temple is in bad shape?

  • Actually, Temple University is in the strongest position it has seen in recent memory, and its potential for continuing progress remains high. Our entering class this fall will continue to break records for quality and diversity. Unlike the schools who are anxiously hoping to fill seats, Temple is building a class in which we can all take pride.

Will the university reduce the number or quality of students it admits?

  • No. We remain committed to our mission: Providing a high quality education that is both affordable and accessible. Recent initiatives to provide greater access — like the Temple Option — are here to stay.

Will the university charge more to make up for the overspending in financial aid?

  • Our commitment to affordability is a part of Temple’s DNA, particularly the Fly in Four initiative. We remain fully committed to keep tuition as low as possible. The budget this year has already been balanced through cuts to administrative costs.

How will this impact faculty and the academic life at Temple?

  • Our faculty members continue to focus on their great strengths in teaching and research. The recent rise to the highest ranks of the Carnegie classification for national research universities is indicative of the growing prominence of Temple faculty’s outstanding research and scholarship.

Original Post 7/12/16

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An email that was sent to staff and students regarding the Board’s decision to terminate President Theobald’s position with the University.

Two weeks after President Neil Theobald sent an email announcing the dismissal of Provost Hai-Lung Dai, an email from Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick J. O’Connor alerted students that Dr. Theobald’s position with the university faces a similar fate.

At a board meeting Tuesday, Trustees voted “no confidence” in Dr. Theobald, who has served as president of Temple University for three years. According to the email, the board gave President Theobald the opportunity to resign, which he refused. The board plans to move forward with his dismissal at the upcoming meeting on July 21.

The Trustees cite the reason for Theobald’s dismissal as a result of the handling of Dai’s removal. “[The] Board ultimately concludes that the issues arising from the discovery of the $22 million deficit in the University’s financial aid budget ultimately were the responsibility of President Theobald, and he must be held accountable.”

Despite the removal of Theobald, his appointment of Beasley School of Law Dean JoAnne Epps to replace Hai-Lung Dai was approved unanimously.

Chairman O’Connor also noted the Trustees intent to make Chancellor Richard M. Englert acting President of the University upon Theobald’s removal. Dr. Englert has been with the university since 1976. He has worn many hats while with university, including Dean of the University College, Dean of the College of Education, Vice President for the Administration, Chief of Staff to the President, and Deputy Provost.


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