Las Vegas Sun

August 17, 2019

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Reilly statement: Jessup said March 5 he was frustrated, looking to leave

Editor's Note: Here's a statement from Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly regarding the announced departure of UNLV President Len Jessup.

Earlier today Dr. Len Jessup announced that he plans to step down as President of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. I want to thank President Jessup for his service to the University and the Nevada System of Higher Education.

It is fair to say that I have significant concerns about operational issues I have observed at UNLV. Those concerns are well known to President Jessup. We have engaged in a forthright and professional dialog about those concerns for several months — including by way of his annual performance evaluation. It has always been my goal to provide President Jessup constructive feedback aimed at helping UNLV achieve its goals.

On March 5th President Jessup expressed to me his frustrations — that he did not want to continue as President, and that he was looking for other opportunities. We never had a conversation prior to our March 5th meeting about him leaving the Presidency. We subsequently had several conversations about timing and when he anticipated resigning to accept another opportunity. On March 14th he confirmed this when he informed the UNLV community of his intent to look for other opportunities. On March 20th, I spoke publicly for the first time about this matter and indicated that his required periodic review would occur in the fall, as required by Board policy, and that additional resources would be provided to him to address my concerns, including the hiring of a Chief Operating Officer (COO). On March 28th I met with President Jessup to discuss how the COO position could be structured to address my concerns and provide him the most benefit.

I recognize that this has been a difficult few weeks for the UNLV community. In the coming months we will be working closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other members of the UNLV community on this transition. I believe UNLV offers a great opportunity for an academic visionary, with impeccable credentials, and the passion and commitment to develop a world class institution. That will be our standard as we embark on a thorough and tireless presidential search.

— Chancellor Thom Reilly