RELEASE: Oblinger to Resign as Chancellor

North Carolina State University Chancellor James Oblinger announced today that he will resign, citing the continuing distractions from the controversy surrounding the hiring and employment of former first lady Mary Easley.

"I am doing so because that is what leaders do when the institutions they lead come under distracting and undue public scrutiny," Oblinger said in a prepared personal statement. "This is particularly true for leaders of public institutions like NC State.

"The only reason I am announcing my intention to resign is that I am applying to myself the same standards I have asked Mrs. Easley to apply to herself: I am doing it because it is in the best interests of NC State University."

Board of Trustees Chair Bob Jordan said, "With today's announcement that he will resign, Chancellor Oblinger has once again put the interests of the university ahead of his own. He wants the university to move forward, and that is what we must now do."

The Board of Trustees will meet in closed session today at 2 p.m. in the Park Alumni Center on Centennial Campus. Board Chair Bob Jordan and UNC President Erskine Bowles will be available to answer media questions immediately after the board meeting is over.

In a letter to the UNC Board of Governors, UNC President Erskine Bowles said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Emeritus Jim Woodward – an aeronautical and mechanical engineer who taught at NC State early in his career – has agreed "on very short notice" to serve as interim chancellor. Bowles said he will work closely with Jordan to launch a search for a permanent chancellor and to ensure that the campus doesn't lose momentum in the months ahead.

Also today, NC State filed with the U.S. Attorney its initial response to subpoenas for documents related to the hiring of Mary Easley. The subpoenas stem from an ongoing federal investigation into former Gov. Mike Easley.

The filing includes e-mails, memos, letters and redacted personnel-related documents from a variety of sources, including the chancellor, provost, former board chair McQueen Campbell and various other individuals and departments.

"NC State is cooperating fully with the U.S. Attorney's office and is committed to being open and honest about the issues related to hiring of Mary Easley," Jordan said.

NC State is continuing to review records and collect documents responsive to these subpoenas. Additional documents will be produced promptly as they are identified and collected.

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