Pershing announces he’s out at Utah; No surprise here

Salt Lake Tribune – University of Utah President David Pershing announced Monday that he will be stepping down from his post, with the search for his replacement to start soon and run in “parallel” with the hiring process for a new senior vice president for health sciences after Vivian Lee resigned Friday amid controversy.

At a meeting of the school’s Academic Senate, Pershing said he had planned to step down following the 2017-18 school year, and was going to announce that in August. But recent upheaval involving the Huntsman Cancer Institute made him move up that timetable, he said. Pershing will remain president until his successor is found. A U. spokesman said Pershing’s replacement is expected to be tapped late this year or in early 2018.

They’re really draining the swamp up on the hill.

I heard talk last week that people around the U were wondering how much longer Pershing would be in his position. Not necessarily because of the saga over the firing of the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s CEO Mary Beckerle, but because of rumors around retirement, etc.

To no one’s surprise though, the botched firing of Mary Beckerle forced Pershing to move up his announcement from the originally planned fall timeline.

Also to no one’s surprise, Pershing said he reversed the decision about Beckerle because of concerns from faculty. Not because of demands from Jon Huntsman Sr. or any of the millions of dollars he tabled or withheld. OK, sure. But I’m still in the boat that the money played some type of role. It ALWAYS does.

Vivian Lee, the former CEO of the University’s of Utah’s health care, is still at the U, for now. She will remain a tenured professor of radiology.

Again, this whole saga would make for a great case study in how not to go about public relations for an intro-level class. “Remember kids, before you fire anyone important, be sure to go through all the pros and cons and that no one (especially donors) will drag you out to dry publicly!”

Through all of this, I always wonder how do mistakes like these happen? In the public eye, everyone seemed to be under the impression that yes, you obviously would want to make sure someone like Huntsman wouldn’t be upset about it. Yet, they did it anyway. I guess I need to attend a sociology class or something that looks into how people in positions of power go about creating such PR nightmares.

Enough of the tangent because there’s one more blog coming today about this whole incident.

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  1. Lots of questions answered in Deseret News story about the Huntsman Cancer Institute saga – Utah Unfiltered

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