STOCKTON — Embattled University of the Pacific President Pamela Eibeck announced her retirement on Thursday, prompting celebration from some students, faculty and alumni.
The move comes after a student-led protest, a vote of no confidence from faculty and a general sense of unease around the campus — but the school says Eibeck’s departure is not related to any of that.
“The kneejerk reaction is that it was Christmas, my birthday and the Fourth of July all in one day,” UOP alumnus Lee Neves said.
Neves is one of the many people who has shared their frustration with Eibeck over the past several months.
“She has zero accountability,” Neves said. “It’s always somebody else’s fault or something else’s fault.”
However, Chairman of the Board of Regents Kevin Huber says Eibeck’s decision to retire was made last year — long before the demonstrations.
“They’re really unrelated. I can see how you might come to the conclusion that they are related but they’re not,” Huber said.
Not all of President Eibeck’s career has been marred with controversy. In fact, the university says that she was awarded for helping to improve literacy in Stockton.
“When she first started it was really good,” Neves said.
That was the beginning of Eibeck’s 10-year tenure. Things are different now, Neves says, between dropping women’s field hockey to going over budget.
“Cutting positions from athletics, cutting staff salaries, cutting faculty salaries,” Neves told FOX40. “Her salary was not cut at all.”
A UOP spokesperson responded to Neves’ statement, saying in part, “Salaries were never cut.”
“The sole purpose of the budget reallocations is to ensure faculty and staff are compensated at the mid-market rate based on their peers,” the spokesperson said.
Now, the university will begin a national search for its new leader.
“Someone who has a focus on a student-centered education, someone who believes in the mission of the university,” Huber said.
Eibeck’s last day is set for July 1.
The university has chosen the current provost and Executive Vice President of UOP Maria Pallavicini as the interim president.
Neves says he would like to send Eibeck off.
“I’d like to throw her a pizza party,” he said.