Former President of Florida International University Explains Sudden Exit

The former president of Florida International University in Miami revealed the reasons for his sudden resignation last week: He said that he had “caused discomfort for a valued employee.”

In a newly released statement on Sunday, the former president, Mark B. Rosenberg, said that caring for his wife, who has advanced dementia and diabetes, hurt his own mental health.

“Regrettably, these issues spilled over to my work,” he wrote, adding, “I unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement.”

It is the second high-profile exit this month of a university president. University of Michigan fired its president, Mark S. Schlissel, on Jan. 16, after it learned he had a relationship with a subordinate “inconsistent with the dignity and reputation of the university,” according to the university’s Board of Regents.

Mr. Rosenberg’s abrupt resignation on Friday after 13 years in the job came as a surprise. In an emergency meeting, the university’s board of trustees appointed Kenneth Jessel, the chief financial officer, as its interim president.

In a brief resignation letter sent out the same day, Mr. Rosenberg, 72, merely cited his own “personal health issues,” as well as his wife’s worsening physical health.

“I am stepping back so that I may give full attention to recurring personal health issues and to the deteriorating health of my wife, Rosalie,” Mr. Rosenberg wrote.

The new statement was released by Dean C. Colson, the chairman of the university’s board of trustees. “We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the events requiring his resignation,” Mr. Colson wrote, adding that the university “remains committed to enforcing its policies thoroughly and swiftly.”

A spokeswoman for the university declined to comment further.

But according to two people close to the administration, the investigation began around mid-December when a young female employee told another colleague about Dr. Rosenberg’s inappropriate behavior. The university hired an outside lawyer, Eric D. Isicoff, to investigate. That investigation is ongoing.

Last week, the woman sat down for an interview, and the counsel obtained text messagesshowing communications between her and Dr. Rosenberg.The investigation led Dr. Rosenberg to resign on Friday.

The university, one of the largest universities in the country, must investigate all sexual harassment complaints, but according to its policies, F.I.U. officials can use their own discretion to find an “informal resolution” with an employee, before any disciplinary actions are taken.

Mr. Rosenberg began his career at the public research university, which hired him in 1976 to teach political science. He steadily rose up the ranks, eventually leading the university’s academic affairs department. After a stint as chancellor for the state’s university system, he returned to F.I.U. in 2009 as its fifth president.

During Mr. Rosenberg’s tenure, a pedestrian bridge collapsed on top of the commuter college’s campus in 2018. At least six people died.

In December, Mr. Rosenberg told The Miami Herald that he had no immediate plans to retire.

“At some point I’ll step down, and we’ll get a new president, and I would expect them to pick up where I left off,” he said.

On Sunday, Mr. Rosenberg said that he had not planned to seek another term. He called his successor “the right person at this moment” for the university.

“I regret that I may have burdened you with these details,” Mr. Rosenberg said in the statement. “I apologize. I take full responsibility and regret my actions.”

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