UA President Robbins Finally Resigns

Dear Students and Colleagues,

After significant consideration and personal contemplation, I informed the Arizona Board of Regents this morning that I will step down as President of the University of Arizona after fulfilling the terms of my current contract. Should ABOR select a new President who is prepared to start sooner than the end date of my contract, I will ensure a smooth transition to my successor and step aside earlier.

Under Robbins, the University faces serious financial struggles after a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall was discovered last November. 

Although this is a difficult decision, it is the right decision for me and for the university that I love so dearly. It has been a true honor to lead the University of Arizona for so many years, particularly during a time of transformational change in higher education and with challenges in the world around us. I am proud of the many advancements we made together in elevating the institution by enhancing the student experience; by attracting and retaining world-class faculty and staff; by increasing our research funding and philanthropy; by achieving significant milestones in science, astronomy and medicine, among many other disciplines; by engaging our indigenous tribes and rural communities; and by improving the lives of Arizona residents and the global community.

The past 18 months certainly have been difficult for our University, but I am confident that our passion and commitment for doing what is right, as well as our thorough and thoughtful analysis to address our ongoing challenges, will bring our institution greater stability in short order.

It is time to begin to think about what is next for the University, and I will continue to serve the institution and work with ABOR to ensure a smooth transition at the appropriate time. I am grateful to the Regents for their ongoing support of our work, and I am confident that the University of Arizona will be in great hands.


Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
The University of Arizona
​​This email was sent to all students, faculty, staff, and DCCs.

As I wrote in the Daily Star on February 18:

UA President Robbins Must Resign

President Robbins was paid $954,000 a year. His pay ballooned as he created a budget shortfall of $177 million. The UA also bought him a $1.3 million home, and he gets $10,000 for a car.

Despite his royal treatment,

  • Robbins lied about the CFO’s resignation (surreptitiously giving her a new title and the same $500,000 salary).
  • He allowed security lapses that led to the in-class murder of Prof. Thomas Meixner.
  • He acquired Ashford University, with its history of fraud, downward enrollment, and money losing record.
  • He loaned the insolvent athletics department $86 million, which it has not paid back.
  • Worse yet, he stonewalls news organizations while pretending to be available for an interview.

As the university finances crumble, it has not gotten what it paid for. I join the many calls for the Board of Regents to fire Robbins.

The university’s plan is to start making cuts from the school’s administration. Let’s start at the top and kick this incompetent leader to the curb.

In January, Hobbs cited an Arizona Republic investigation on issues behind the University of Arizona’s budget shortfall, calling for action to reverse the university’s “lack of accountability, transparency and leadership.”

She has continued to voice her concern, telling reporters last Thursday she was “continuing to lose patience” with the UA President after an Arizona Republic investigation revealed Robbins authorized the hiring of a prominent lobbyist who was paid $10,000 a month by the university’s foundation for the stated purpose of building UA’s relationship with the country of Morocco. Behind the scenes, the lobbyist had another role: seeking to persuade the attorney general of California to erase millions of dollars in fines against Ashford University.

In a statement Tuesday, the governor said she looks forward to restoring “the public’s trust in one of our state’s most important public institutions.” She said she will continue to offer support to the university and its presiding board as a replacement is identified.

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