LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz is leaving the University of Arkansas.
In a statement posted late Thursday afternoon, the school announced Steinmetz will leave the university effective Friday. The news came out following a special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas Thursday afternoon,
The outgoing chancellor said in part the decision was what was right for his family.
“For the past 38 years, higher education has been not only my vocation, but my absolute commitment. My wife Sandy is the reason I get up in the morning, but the promise of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement has kept me returning to the office day after day, year after year — steadfast in my belief of the power of higher education to improve lives,” Steinmetz said. “I still strongly believe in the mission of higher education, yet given the many challenges found trying to manage a university in today’s polarized society, I need to do what’s best for my family and I feel ready to make way for others.”
Steinmetz took over as chancellor at the Fayetteville campus on January 1, 2016, coming from Ohio State University, where he was the school’s chief academic officer. He also worked at the University of Kansas and Indiana University.
A nationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist, Steinmetz earned degrees at Central Michigan University and a doctorate from Ohio University.
Neither the university nor Steinmetz cited a reason for the resignation, which comes just days after KNWA-TV asked the university to explain an online account containing provocative photos, appearing to show the University of Arkansas chancellor.
UA spokesperson Mark Rushing has denied the photos are of Chancellor Steinmetz.
In a phone call with KNWA, Rushing called it, “an obvious attack” and “a hoax.” He cited other “deep fakes” as examples of the extreme lengths some people go to in order to embarrass others on social media.
Rushing added, “It’s never been easier to make very persuasive fake photos and video, to the point of Photoshop can be used to add in or take out the most minute detail”.
Rushing claims the university contacted Twitter about the account, which appeared to have been created in July 2017, and disappeared about 20 minutes after KNWA first contacted the chancellor’s office.
He also stated the chancellor’s office called UA Police Dept. to discuss options for investigating how this happened and who may have done it.
KNWA attempted to contact Chancellor Steinmetz Thursday with no luck.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.