Time to let go of Troyer probe
When the war is over, it's important to stop fighting.
With all the public bickering and palace intrigue, it's been a rough few months for the University of Illinois.
But now that UI President Michael Hogan has announced that he's stepping down June 30 and university trustees have designated the widely respected Robert Easter to succeed him, it appears that the ever-stormy seas might be starting to calm.
Everyone should hope so. The last thing the UI needs now is more discord.
That's why it is incumbent that Easter and Chancellor Phyllis Wise meet with the appropriate faculty members to negotiate a cease-fire in the planned ethics review of Lisa Troyer, Hogan's former chief of staff who resigned her post after being implicated in the anonymous emails escapade.
This kind of inquiry is so rare that, even if carefully done, it could cause more trouble than it solves. Frankly, it looks like a vendetta.
The News-Gazette has previously indicated that it would be best, considering all that has happened, if Troyer would find another job in a more hospitable locale. She has fine professional credentials that many institutions would covet. But Troyer has no real place at the UI.
She's been joined professionally with Hogan at the Universities of Iowa, Connecticut and Illinois. Now that he's leaving as the UI's chief executive, there's no reason for her to stick around.
But contracts are contracts, and Troyer's provides for a faculty appointment in the event she left the chief of staff post. In other words, she has a legal claim to a position and a generous six-figure income and, no doubt, will fight zealously to protect those rights.
Does the UI really need a skirmish over this?
It should be pretty clear to everyone that Troyer doesn't want to teach at the UI, even if she has the legal right to a position. The UI is best served by negotiating her departure.
There is no question that Hogan, with Troyer acting as his consigliere, stirred considerable resentment on campus from faculty and staff members who felt ignored, patronized or bullied.
Troyer sowed the seeds of her own demise with her anonymous emails to a university committee, the discovery of which resulted in her resignation as chief of staff. Hogan, too, fell as the results of self-inflicted wounds.
So what really is the point of continuing to pursue Troyer when the fight is over? Nothing worth having can be gained from this short-sighted ethics probe, particularly considering that Troyer already has suffered a significant decline in both reputation and income.
The UI faces many serious problems as it continues to wrestle with the fallout from the state's fiscal problems. Now under new leadership provided by Easter and Wise, it has a chance to attack them in a collegial fashion with full faculty participation, and it would be best if unnecessary distractions are minimized or eliminated.
Considered in that light, it's time to back off from the Troyer probe and focus on the big picture.