The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern is resigning, effective Friday.
James Limbaugh sent an email to Northern faculty and staff Thursday saying that continuing controversy on campus and in the community "has become a significant distraction to the achievement of our common goals," and that he was resigning for the sake of the institution.
The Havre Daily News reports Havre residents began circulating a petition calling for Limbaugh's ouster after football coach Mark Samson was fired for apparently paying football camp staff without running camp proceeds through university accounts.
Provost Rosalyn Templeton resigned nearly a year ago after a co-worker complained she had sexually harassed him while the director of Northern's nursing department resigned in January after three weeks on administrative leave.
Limbaugh came to MSU-Northern in January 2012.
The following press release was sent out by Montana State University Northern.
Montana State University Northern Chancellor James Limbaugh announced his resignation from the university's top post effective Friday, Aug 29.
Limbaugh shared the following letter with students, faculty and staff today:
For almost three years, I have had the privilege to lead Montana State University-Northern as your Chancellor, working toward a shared vision of excellence in post-secondary education. Our students deserve our full attention in this endeavor; our community deserves a university of which it can be proud.
However, continuing controversy on campus and in the community has become a significant distraction to the achievement of our common goals and has hampered severely our ability to move forward. Therefore, for the sake of this institution, I am resigning as the Chancellor of Montana State University-Northern, effective Friday, August 29, 2014.
I wish each of you the best as you lead MSUN into its second century of service to the citizens of Montana.
Montana State University President Waded Cruzado thanked Limbaugh for his dedication and service to Northern and its students.
"Chancellor Limbaugh is a life-long educator and he has always striven to do the best for students. Even in his resignation, he is putting students first so MSU Northern can continue to move forward," Cruzado said. "I want to thank Chancellor Limbaugh for his dedicated service to MSU Northern and for his collaboration with the MSU campuses."
Limbaugh came to MSU Northern in January 2012 from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where he had served as provost and vice president for academic and student affairs.
During his tenure at Northern, Limbaugh was able to increase enrollment at Northern in the fall of 2013 after the university had experienced many years of enrollment decline. He also received praise from the Montana Board of Regents for fulfilling its request that campuses conduct academic prioritization reviews to determine which programs should be grown, maintained, combined, or eliminated.
He also advanced campus renovations that include a stabilization project of Donaldson Hall, the rebuilding of the campus' tennis courts, an extensive remodel of student dining facilities, the conservation and display of an impressive collection of Native American artifacts, as well as an extensive renovation of the gym floor and bleachers in the Armory Gym.