LINCOLN PARK — The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, president of DePaul University for more than a decade, announced Monday that he plans to step down next summer.
Holtschneider said in an email to the DePaul community that he did is "not leaving for another position," but that he believes "it's best for DePaul if I step aside."
Holtschneider's email did not address the recent racial and political tensions that have gripped DePaul's campus since protesters shut down an event hosting conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos last month.
Initially, students shut down the talk and Holtschneider said while he and the speaker share "very few opinions," he said protestors were wrong to crash the event and that Yiannopoulos should have been allowed to speak. He apologized to the DePaul College Republicans group that invited Yiannopoulos to campus.
Holtschneider ultimately penned a public apology for his "deafening silence" toward "our students, staff and faculty [who] felt insufficiently supported by the DePaul community...including by me."
Holtschneider's contract extends through 2019, but he said waiting until then would not overlap well with the school's "strategic plans."
Holtschneider was paid $842,288 annually, according to MSN Money, using figures from the Chronicle of Higher Education. The student newspaper DePaulia has reported that about 75 percent of Holtschneider's salary goes to his religious order's general account in Philadelphia and about 25 percent is used to fund a retirement account for the order's priests. A small amount is used to pay for Holtschneider's room and board, the DePaulia said.
The school's current strategic plan runs through 2018, according to a statement released by university spokeswoman Carol Hughes.
Holtschneider also ran into some resistance on a plan to help fund a new basketball arena near McCormick place, with some students saying the $70 million the school is contributing to the project could be used instead for scholarships.
“Holtschneider has led the university through two successful strategic plans. His leadership has been transformational for DePaul,” board chair William Bennett was quoted in the statement.
“When Fr. Holtschneider shared his plans with board leadership last March, we could not help but admire the selflessness of his decision to step down so that DePaul’s next strategic plan can proceed with its next leader in place. The board of trustees is enormously grateful for Fr. Holtschneider’s dedication to DePaul.”
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