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Fox Defends Firings Of NCSU Administrators

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RALEIGH, N.C. — N.C. State University Chancellor Marye AnneFox said she fired two veteran administrators this week for goodreasons and that she wanted a strong leadership team in theprovost's office.

"I wanted to assure them this was not a precipitous decision,that it was based on continued evaluations over a long period,"Fox said Thursday after a closed-door appearance before a UNC Boardof Governors committee.

Fox fired senior vice provost C. Frank Abrams Jr. and viceprovost Bruce I. Mallette on Tuesday after their boss, ProvostStuart L. Cooper, refused to fire them himself. Cooper, theuniversity's No. 2 administrator, resigned Wednesday in protest ofher action.

Abrams, 58, senior vice provost for academic affairs andCooper's chief of staff, and Mallette said their job performancereviews had given no indication of problems.

"She has never stated to me that she was dissatisfied with myperformance," Mallette said.

Mallette, 49, vice provost for academic administration, said Foxfired him Tuesday afternoon after he refused to resign. Thechancellor thanked him for two decades of service and handed him aletter outlining a three-month special assignment to study tuitionand fees at land-grant universities, he said. She told him tovacate his office immediately and work from home for the next 90days, after which his service is terminated.

"She said, `In my five years, I haven't seen any leadershipfrom you. It's time for a change,' " Mallette said Wednesdaynight.

Several NCSU deans who met with Fox at their request Thursdaymorning said she did not offer specifics about Abrams and Mallette.She explained that she wanted trustworthy leaders who would carryher message to the rest of the campus, said Marvin Malecha, dean ofthe College of Design since 1994.

At her request, Fox reported on the firings at a regular meetingof the UNC Board of Governors personnel committee late Thursday inChapel Hill.

"We don't have any jurisdiction anyway, so we made norecommendations and gave no advice," committee chairman CraigSouza of Raleigh said after the 20-minute, closed-door session withFox. "We listened, and that was it."

UNC system President Molly Broad pointed out that chancellorshave full authority to terminate senior administrators, who serve"at will."

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