East Carolina University chancellor announces resignation

March 18, 2019

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The chancellor of East Carolina University announced plans Monday to resign after about three years in the job, indicating that his departure wasn’t entirely his choice but declining to elaborate.

The University of North Carolina system issued a news release saying that Chancellor Cecil P. Staton will step down effective May 3. He’s slated to remain in an advisory capacity until the end of June.

Staton said in a statement released by the university system that he’s enjoyed his time at ECU and that there are “no limits” to what the university can achieve.

But when asked at a news conference if he was asked to step down, Staton responded: “Let me just simply say I did not initiate this.” He declined to elaborate and noted that he had signed a non-disparagement agreement.

Board of Governors member Steve Long issued a statement blaming the head of the statewide board, according to WRAL-TV. Long said Staton was pushed out by board Chairman Harry Smith over “politics, not the chancellor’s performance.”

In a phone interview with WRAL, Smith said Long was wrong and that he didn’t direct Staton’s departure “in any shape form or fashion.”

Staton was hired at in April of 2016 to lead East Carolina University, which has an enrollment of nearly 29,000, including about 23,000 undergraduates. He had previously spent years as a faculty member and administrator of universities in Georgia.

Staton’s announcement comes months after the departure of the leader who hired him, former University System President Margaret Spellings. And the former chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill, Carol Folt, left the university in January after the statewide board moved up her intended departure date by several months.