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Ohio State releases few details following President Kristina Johnson's early resignation announcement

Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson, left, speaks with students after delivering the University Address on April 21, 2022 at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Logan Wallace
/
Ohio State
Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson, left, speaks with students after delivering the University Address on April 21, 2022 at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Ohio State University won't say whether or not President Kristina Johnson was asked to resign, but is refuting reports that the Monday night announcement of her early resignation comes after an investigation.

"There was not an investigation," states university spokesperson Ben Johnson in an email.

It is unclear at this time what her next move will be, whether she was offered a position somewhere else, if she is leaving for personal reasons or if her resignation was encouraged from within the university.

When asked if the university's governing board asked Kristina Johnson to resign, Ben Johnson responded, "The president made the difficult decision to resign."

He states the university's public records department is handling WOSU's requests for her personnel file, communications with the board and any complaints that may have been filed by staff.

WOSU also reached out to university department heads for comment, but did not receive any responses.

Ben Johnson said the university did bring in an outside consultant to conduct her performance review, but deemed it unnecessary after learning of her intention to leave the OSU at the end of the academic year in May.

WOSU requested an interview with Kristina Johnson through her attorney Rex Elliot. "At this time, President Johnson doesn’t have anything additional to add to her existing public statements," he responded, indicating she may be available in the future.

Kristina Johnson came to the university to replace Michael Drake in August 2020. She signed a five-year contract for more than $1 million a year, including benefits. She is the second woman to preside over the university and the first openly LGBTQIA person to hold the position.

When Johnson arrived, she said she wanted to make to use of new and creative ways to improve access, equity and outreach at the university.

In the email announcing her resignation, she praised the Scarlet and Gray Advantage program that raised $125 million to offer some students a debt-free education. She also praised the amount of money the university spends on research, which she states crossed the $1 billion mark in 2021.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Fox joined the WOSU newsroom from the Tribune Chronicle/Vindicator in the Youngstown area, where she’d been a reporter since 2014. Contact Renee at renee.fox@wosu.org.