FAU President Mary Jane Saunders Resigns After Controversies


Courtesy, Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief South Florida Business Journal Saying that recent controversies “have been significant and distracting,” Mary Jane Saunders has resigned as president of Florida Atlantic University after only three years in office. FAU experienced controversies after agreeing a naming rights deal for its stadium from Geo Group of Boca Raton and a mass communications professor questioning realities surrounding the Newtown, Conn., shootings and Boston Marathon bombings. pineapple-newspaper-mary-jane-saundersSaunders had many supporters in the business community and received the largest applause from the audience when she recently took the stage to accept one of 10 South Florida Business Journal Ultimate CEO Awards. Protesters dogged Saunders over the stadium decision, which was subsequently rescinded. At one point a student who didn’t get out of the way was bumped by a mirror on Saunder’s car as she was backing out of a parking spot. here is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the University community. The issues and the fiercely negative media coverage have forced me to reassess my position as the President of FAU. I must make choices that are the best for the University, me and my family,” Saunders said in a statement posted on the university’s website. However, Saunders also said she had accomplished goals to expand the excellence at the university. She will return to a faculty position and be assigned a special research project – to assess the feasibility of developing a physician’s assistant program at FAU, the university said. Dennis Crudele, FAU’s senior vice president for finance and administration, is now the acting president of the university and an interim president is expected to be in place this fall, FAU Board of Trustees Chairman Anthony K. G. Barbar said. He expects a search committee to be formed this fall. Barbar said he accepted Saunder’s resignation with regret: “The Board respects your desire to return to the faculty, a decision we know you made in the best interest of the University.”