statusquOblinger Resigns (Updated 3:35pm – Easley Fired)

What are we going to do now that we are losing one of the all-time best nicknames SFN has ever originated?

NC State University Chancellor James Oblinger resigned effective immediately. Former UNC Charlotte Chancellor Jim Woodward will take over. This link will take you to a great profile of Woodward from a 2004 article.

It was a typical mission for Woodward, an aerospace engineer and MBA who mingles academics with big business and backroom finagling. The man Broad calls “the best manager in the system” recently announced that he will retire next year at 65. Major growth has marked his 15-year tenure–the longest of any chancellor in the system. Enrollment is up nearly 50%, the $84.5 million endowment is six times what it was, there are 12 doctoral programs where there were none, and there are nine new buildings, with another nine under way. The school’s research has spawned 24 companies.

Despite what he sees as his greatest accomplishment–hoisting the school into the ranks of Ph.D.-granting research universities–others laud his prowess as a diplomat, working effectively within the 16-campus UNC system, ever mindful of the concentric circles of statewide politics surrounding it, while at the same time cementing the school’s ties with Charlotte’s business establishment. This feat is akin to climbing a greased pole, and Woodward has demonstrated an uncanny knack for knowing when to press on and when to slide back.

I was kind of hoping that General Hugh Shelton would get the nod for interim; and, I also thought that the recent appointment of fellow Edgecombe County native, Norris Tolson to the Board of Trustees was a step to Shleton’s appointment. Oh well. No biggie. Chancellor Woodward appears to be a fine choice based on what we have gathered to this point.

BJD95 & SFN UPDATE: Here’s an e-mail from Bob Jordan regarding SQ’s resignation:

To the Students, Faculty and Friends of NC State University:

In a few moments, we will be announcing that James Oblinger has chosen to resign as chancellor of NC State. I wanted you to be the first to hear this disappointing news.

Chancellor Oblinger cares deeply for NC State. He has devoted 23 years to our university and his leadership will be greatly missed.

One of things I admire most about Jim Oblinger is that he has always put the university’s interests ahead of his own. He is resigning because he does not want the ongoing controversy surrounding the university’s hiring and employment of Mary Easley to continue detracting from the important work of our faculty and staff. He wants the university to move forward, and that is what we must do.

A copy of the official announcement of the chancellor’s resignation, along with a copy of documents that NC State submitted to the U.S. Attorney’s office today, can be found on the university’s Web site at 9:30 this morning at

I will continue to keep you informed about these developments and our search for a new chancellor in the coming weeks. If you have questions or comments, you can send them to me at: [email protected].

Bob Jordan, Chair of the NC State Board of Trustees

Yep, this beacon of embarrassment loves and cares about NC State so much that he plans to NOT work for six months at full salary, in the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis. This is also a guy who most certainly does NOT need the money. Selfless. Honorable. Almost saintly.

How can this man resign wanting this money while simultaneously condeming Mary Easley for demanding the money she is legally due because of Oblinger (and Larry Neilsen’s) very own decisions and approvals?

We harken back to many of the comments that we made in this definitive entry on the topic. When you don’t have any genuine convictions and when are not truly driven by a tangible/measurable set of goals of achievement for your institution, then you will inevitably be exposured by gross hypocrisy.

This is what happens to people who do not any true convictions and passively ‘manage’ by avoidance and without driving to reach stretch goals. If the Chancellor and the folks at NC State were actually executing against a well-defined strategy, then all behaviors under that strategy can/could be explained and justified as supporting that strategy. But, when the bulk of your daily behaviors are construed by everyone around you as ‘risk avoidance’ and wanting to ‘do as little as possible to upset the status quo’, then you cannot truly strive for excellence or have any guiding barometer for decisions.


You see – it is all about being comfortable with the status quo all around you in Raleigh. Why would NC State dare bring in someone from the outside when the Chancellor can live in luxury along side his local buddy? Of course, you can’t really blame Chancellor Oblinger; it is the ‘NC State way’ to ultimately promote a food chemist from campus into the steward and leader of the entire University after the ‘good old boys’ and the tenured faculty had been pushed by someone who actually had drive and ambition to leave the zip code every now and then (Marye Ann Fox).

Does it surprise anyone that Oblinger is one of Bob Kennel’s heroes? Old Kennel sure has has kept a low profile on the internet in recent months. For years we’ve been leactured that any dissent against the leadership at NC State is atrocious since these leaders are so great. Yet, in the middle of all the *#($ hitting the fan the cheerleader has been muted. Maybe the evil internet made all of this happen? To his credit, I only count eight uses of the word ‘I’ in Kennel’s 100+ word letter to the N&O. That is SIGNIFICANTLY below the usual minimum standards of a 1:10 ratio of I:all other words.

Here’s a link to WRAL’s take.

Here’s a link to some developments from the weekend.

Here is a link to one of our definitive posts on this topic.


UPDATE (3:35): The NC State Board of Trustees has fired Mary Easley.

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95 Responses to statusquOblinger Resigns (Updated 3:35pm – Easley Fired)

  1. ruffles31 06/08/2009 at 9:28 AM #

    I had the same thought after reading the headline in the N&O this morning. I wondered how he could survive after adding money to Neilsen’s “resignation” that got around the school by laws. If this is true…WOW!!!

  2. Clarksa 06/08/2009 at 9:43 AM #
  3. burnbarn 06/08/2009 at 9:43 AM #

    After I read today’s paper I knew it was a matter of time.. This is very sad for us and I expect will essentialy be the end of the story (one can hope).

    In the end, this was not the big story.. the bigger story is not NCSU related and will reveal itself over time. this has just been a diversion.

  4. Cardiff Giant 06/08/2009 at 9:45 AM #

    The Nielsen salary fiasco, which was unbelievable stupidity, was the final straw, and deservedly so.

  5. wpackman33 06/08/2009 at 9:52 AM #

    Yea, after reading the N&O article, it would be ridiculous for him to try to dig himself out of this one.
    Unfortunately as burnbarn said, this is a sad story not just for NCSU academics. i can see this possibly becoming and issue with educational institutions all over.

    But, on a brighter note…

    is this the first domino to fall the will hopefully get NCSU athletics on the right track?
    Who do you think would be a good replacement as a chancellor?
    Let’s get someone in here with good ethics (one can hope) and high standards for excellence in everything. Then the LF thing should take care of its self.

  6. packof81 06/08/2009 at 9:52 AM #

    Now if they can cut off money to Sleazely, maybe she’ll just slither away.

  7. tobaccordshow 06/08/2009 at 9:58 AM #

    That BOT meeting last night must’ve sealed the fate…


  8. Daily Update 06/08/2009 at 9:58 AM #

    How do these guys get to continue on as Faculty? I don’t get it. You never see CEOs take lesser positions in the private sector. I guess these guys don’t want to give up these cushy faculty positions making well over six figure incomes.

  9. tobaccordshow 06/08/2009 at 10:03 AM #

    Academia is a different animal. They circle the wagons around their wounded regardless of the circumstance.

    “Performance” has a different measure with a company who has shareholders and a bottom line. The shareholders in this situation are us, the taxpayers… and we all know the taxpayers NEVER get screwed.

  10. BJD95 06/08/2009 at 10:03 AM #

    You could buy out Lee Fowler with the 6 months’ pay we are apparently giving SQ and Nielsen to not work.

  11. PackMan97 06/08/2009 at 10:06 AM #

    6 months paid leave at his chancellor salary plus resumption of tenured faculty position in January? You have got to be ****ing kidding me!

    Someone in the UNC system needs to grow a pair and put an end to these practices. The entire system seems rotten to the core.

  12. old13 06/08/2009 at 10:15 AM #

    It took him long enough! Now, if the right Chancellor is brought in, athletics and other “leadership” issues will take care of themselves (I hope!)

  13. NCSU4ever 06/08/2009 at 10:21 AM #


    When can talk about the basketball team again?

  14. bigjohn 06/08/2009 at 10:29 AM #

    As I said last week, just let it play out…Jordan, Bowles, etc. talk about what a great and honest man this is and how he resigned out of love and concern for NC State, but as a well educated NC State alum, I know fraud when I see it. Nielson was lauded as a great loss, but he too cut out when the heat was on…he took the money and spread it to others. Erskine Bowles glossed it all over last year, and I’m not sure he is any cleaner. The Easleys have proven what they are made of, and that is greed and corruption. I don’t want it to “blow over” until all of the rats are out.

  15. ADVENTUROO 06/08/2009 at 10:35 AM #

    Jimmy V. probably had a shot of brandy in his morning capacino (sp)…and is pondering which one of the “GOOD” cigars to choose…

    This is the FIRST positive thing that has happened in a LONG time…

    Thank you, Uncle Mike, for being SO SLEAZY….

    Thank you, Dr. O, for having the courage to get out NOW…

    I do HOPE that your grand jury appearance leads to charges…I do NOT want YOU to go to jail…but hope that you are stripped of your faculty position and whatever perks they gave you this morning once the truth is leaked about your “corrupt” behavior…


    Now, let’s focus on getting rid of Foul-Up…


  16. DFMo 06/08/2009 at 10:36 AM #

    So naturally, you now wonder how much Erskine knew and whether he was looking sideways. The review of Easley’s salary (that was initially approved outside of guideline) by Erskine and company went very quickly and without issue and her performance reviews are all stellar. Now the N&O is digging into what she really does for her salary. And she is not in the office much but “does a lot of work at home” and that is understood by her supervisor. It still has a stench to it …

  17. Alpha Wolf 06/08/2009 at 10:38 AM #

    The Ole Boys Club has had it’s head knocked off, now it’s time to slay the beast.

    Send Tom Stafford packing, or at least give him vastly reduced duties, for example.

    Bring in an established reformer, and another MAF type chancellor who will once again put high emphasis on undergraduates and their needs, on raising the stature of the university and of course on athletics.

  18. packalum44 06/08/2009 at 10:39 AM #

    University systems are run VERY differently than the private sector. Thomas Sowell, a great author and PhD Economist, does a great job explaining some of the facts and fallacies of the way Universities operate in his book, “Economic Facts and Fallacies”. It is a great read and touches other subjects such as subsidized housing, gentrification, racial/sexual discrimination (lack thereof).

    But give Oblinger a break. In this same book, Sowell would argue Oblinger would be a fool not to take a 6 month buy out? Don’t kid yourself. Everyone reading this would.

  19. SaccoV 06/08/2009 at 10:41 AM #

    Great, he (Oblinger) “loves” NC State so much that he resigns from his position so that he can take a faculty position back, and still get paid six months of a Chancellor’s salary. Wow, that kind of love must only come with an usurious interest rate. It’s amazing that when a minority woman sells her body for money we call it prostitution; when an old white man does it, we call it academic integrity. I personally think each one of these individuals should be investigated and removed from ever having anything to do with ANY university or school. Period.

  20. BJD95 06/08/2009 at 10:43 AM #

    He’s certainly entitled to take his 6 months, but don’t try to couple that with talk of “love” and “selflessness.” Accept the fact that you’ll be called a greedy jackass for doing so – whether it’s common practice or not.

  21. DRW 06/08/2009 at 10:50 AM #

    I don’t like the fact that he will get paid for six months either, but if it is part of his contract or allowed under university policy, why are you getting so pissed?

  22. SaccoV 06/08/2009 at 10:57 AM #

    DRW, it’s the collective pandering to an obvious fraud. Give him 6 months salary. Give him his teaching position back. I got fired twice, and got, let’s see … nothing. Not even a decent reference letter. That’s fine. I didn’t deserve to be fired, but I got fired, and I moved on and found other employment. It seems Mr. Oblinger should be offered the same opportunity, not given one to appease him.

  23. LKNpackfan 06/08/2009 at 11:01 AM #

    Edit: and with this, I retract my previous statement.

  24. Noah 06/08/2009 at 11:01 AM #

    Wait, wait, wait…are you telling me that Jim Oblinger doesn’t work for FREE? Wow. Wow. Just….wow.

    I’m sorry, I’m going to have sit down for a minute. I had no idea that running the university was his occupation or job. I thought it was purely a labor of love, done out of sacrifice, done for the…the….the look of hope and inspiration in a young child’s eyes.

    Wow. First you tell me that a university and a private corporation are NOT the same thing and now you tell me that the leaders of a university expect compensation for their labor.

    You are blowing my mind. I’m seeing trails.

    SFN: Noah, I think the point of BJD’s criticism is not that Oblinger requires a salary to work. I think it is that Oblinger doesn’t just resign and stop working and stop drawing a paycheck. Especially in light of the fact that Oblinger feels that Mary Easley should do the exact same thing.

  25. Wolfpack_1995 06/08/2009 at 11:02 AM #

    Good Riddance.

    NOW is a Golden opportunity to get a real Chancellor.

    Hopefully someone is left to break off the contined puppetry by UNC in running NC State.

    Bring back MAF.

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