WSU President Jay Golden Resigns After Less Than A Year In Office

Sep 25, 2020

Wichita State University President Jay Golden has resigned, according to a statement by the Kansas Board of Regents released Friday.

“We are appreciative of his hard work and dedication to the university and are grateful for his commitment to serving students,” Regents Chair Bill Feuerborn said in the statement. “We wish him well in all his future endeavors.”

WSU Provost Rick Muma will be the university’s acting president until the Regents appoint an interim president. 

A WSU spokesman said the university would have no comment, and that any comment would have to come from the Board  of Regents. The board did not comment beyond the initial statement.

Golden became president last January, following the death of President John Bardo. Before that, Golden served as the vice chancellor of research, economic development and engagement at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

He also spent time as a police officer and started an engineering services company in Arizona.

In June, Golden angered some WSU donors and alumni after deciding to remove Ivanka Trump as the keynote speaker at WSU Tech’s virtual graduation. While Trump’s videotaped remarks were made available for students and family to view, rumors spread that the Regents were considering asking Golden for his resignation.

After a more than four-hour, closed-door Regents meeting — with Golden present for at least some of it — no action was taken against Golden. At the time, the Regents released a statement that gave few clues as to what happened during the executive session and never mentioned Golden.

Regent Jon Rolph, a restaurateur from Wichita, said Friday that Golden's resignation was not was because of the Ivanka Trump controversy.

"If the board was going to take action on that, we would have back in June," said Rolph, the president and CEO of Thrive Restaurant Group.

Among those upset over Golden's decision to move Ivanka Trump's speech was Steve Clark, a WSU donor and head of the search committee that hired Golden.

He told the Associated Press on Friday that Golden "wasnt a good cultural fit for our Midwest values here. I don't think he was very good at balancing the interests of all the university stakeholders: the students, alums, faculty and donors and considering all things.

"I think it's better for him and much better for the university."

The Regents met Thursday for a special meeting to discuss personnel manners, most of it behind closed doors during executive session. Golden was not present at that meeting.

Rolph said because this a personnel issue, the Regents will not release any more information about why Golden resigned.

After Golden’s resignation on Friday, WSU student leaders said Golden made an effort to listen to students.

"Jay Golden was the student’s president,” said Student Body Treasurer Zach James. "The next president is going to have high standards ... placed on them already."