BOSTON — Even though the president of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees said he was abruptly resigning Wednesday because of his other commitments, some of his colleagues say he left the post a year early because the governor is interfering with university oversight.
Colleagues of now former UMass Board of Trustees Chair Robert Manning told The Boston Globe that part of the reason Manning stepped down was because he felt his authority was diminished by the governor’s Education Secretary Paul Reville, who has a seat on the board.
Reville spoke with WBUR’s Deborah Becker on Thursday’s Morning Editionand he praised Manning’s work on the board and denied Gov. Deval Patrick’s involvement in “managing” the university.
“The role of governor is not to manage the university — we hire top leadership to do that. We appoint a board to make key policy decisions, and we’re very respectful of that,” Reville said. “At the same time, we have an opinion, I as secretary of Education, have an opinion on key matters like setting student fees, or the way in which we conduct a search, so we’re interested in top level policy decisions and leaving the management of the university to its very competent leadership.
“We simply commented on wanting to assure that this process was fair, transparent and as broad as possible,” Reville said.