University of The Bahamas (UB) President Dr. Rodney Smith will not seek the renewal of his contract when it expires in August 2022, the university said.
The announcement came after it surfaced that Smith is one of three people being considered for the position of president of West Virginia State University (WVSU).
In a statement released on Monday, UB said, “The university is also advised that President Smith has begun the process of seeking employment elsewhere and may possibly leave the university before the expiration of his contract if he is offered a position and accepts the offer.
“Accordingly, the board of trustees will establish and convene a Presidential Search Committee to lead the process of selecting a president to succeed Dr. Smith. The university community will be advised regarding the search process involving stakeholder representatives and timelines in short order.”
The university said Smith has given assurance that he remains “committed” to fulfilling his mandate at UB and “to ensuring a smooth transition in leadership when the time comes”.
Smith will participate in WVSU’s “Meet the Finalists” forum today. During that forum, students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to ask Smith questions.
The historically Black university, which is located in Institute, West Virginia, started its search for a new president in mid-January.
A decision is expected to be made by July 13.
Smith previously served as College of The Bahamas (COB) president until he resigned in 2005 amid a plagiarism controversy.
The controversy arose after he made a speech at the college’s honor’s convocation. During that ceremony, Smith repeated a part of a speech used by then president of New York University Dr. John Sexton without attribution.
Despite the controversy, Smith was selected to succeed Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze as president of COB in 2014.
The college transitioned to a university in 2016 under his leadership.
He also established the President’s Gala Soirée which aimed at raising funds for endowed scholarships at UB, particularly for first-generation university students.
In 2017, the university’s Board of Trustees granted Smith a five-year contract.