Provost Stellar to step down in January 2019
The man in charge of academic affairs at the University at Albany will step down from his role in January, a sudden change in leadership announced by the Office of the President Thursday.
The short email announcement that Provost James Stellar would return to being a professor contained no clues as to why the decision was made, or who made it.
The President lauded Stellar in the email for his service to the university in research, administration, and student involvement.
University spokesperson Jordan Carleo-Evangelist remained tight-lipped, saying the university had no statement outside the president’s message.
“As a matter of practice the University does not discuss personnel matters publicly,” said Carleo-Evangelist. “This situation is no different from with any other employee here at UAlbany and is consistent with past practice.”
Stellar did not provide any comment, saying that he had agreed to let Carleo-Evangelist be the spokesperson for the issue.
President Rodriguez’s announcement hearkens back to last year; at one time, Stellar could have had Rodriguez’s position, with the power, higher salary, and influence that comes with it.
In last year’s transition period after President Robert Jones left, Stellar expressed his interest in taking the job.
At the time, Stellar was interim president, a role preventing him from getting the permanent position according to SUNY guidance.
A portion of the campus community, including then-president of Student Association Felix Abreu, rallied around Stellar. They argued that SUNY had granted exceptions to the rule before, creating a petition on Change.org to try to get him considered for the position.
Ultimately, the search committee and SUNY appointed Havidan Rodriguez to the role. Last week marked his one-year anniversary as acting president.
Stellar, a doctorate-holder of biological psychology, began moving up the academic ladder at Northeastern University in Boston. After 22 years of serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences there, he became provost at a CUNY school, Queens College.
Stellar may continue to be paid several hundred thousand dollars a year as professor, though Carleo-Evangelist said it would be calculated as a percentage of Stellar’s final salary as provost.
During his time as interim president in 2017, Stellar made $421,908.