University of Cincinnati President Greg Williams abruptly stepped down Aug. 21. According to reports, Williams walked into a UC Board of Trustees meeting, announced he was resigning effective immediately and left.
Greg Hand, spokesperson for UC, said Williams resigned for “personal reasons.” No further explanation was provided by Williams.
Williams was at UC since 2009, and in 2010 he introduced the UC2019 plan, which seeks to make the university into a top school by 2019. It also implied Williams had long-term plans for UC, making his abrupt resignation even stranger.
The Board of Trustees seemed happy with Williams — at least happy enough to give him a raise. On Sept. 20, 2011, the Board gave Williams a $41,000 raise, bringing his salary up to $451,000.
He also got a $102,500 bonus.
When The Enquirer first reported the story, the newspaper mentioned that Margaret Buchanan, the paper’s president and publisher, is on the UC Board of Trustees. However, The Enquirer did not mention asking Buchanan about the resignation — an omission that raised questions for Jim Romenesko, a popular journalism blogger. Since then, The Enquirer emailed Romenesko saying Buchanan did not know any extra information.
The Enquirer in at least six follow-up stories about various individuals involved in the situation neglected to mention Buchanan’s connection. The Enquirer again noted Buchanan’s status on the board in its Aug. 24 story, “Williams, UC board frustrated each other.” The story again failed to mention why Buchanan wouldn’t comment.
Buchanan’s ties to local groups the newspaper frequently covers have failed to be disclosed in the past. Previously, CityBeat found in stories related to City Center Development Corporation (3CDC), which Buchanan is also involved in as a member of the executive committee, The Enquirer overwhelmingly failed to report the possible conflict of interest. In one particular story, The Enquirer praised 3CDC but failed to bring up Buchanan’s role overseeing publicity and marketing there.