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Joseph Alutto assumes role as Ohio State interim president, despite unanswered questions

OSU Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein (left), former President E. Gordon Gee and interim President Joseph Alutto talk after a June 5 press conference about Gee's retirement at the Ohio Union.

Shelby Lum / Photo editor

Ohio State interim President Joseph Alutto takes office Monday as the former president of OSU moves out of Bricker Hall and into a different role at the university, though many questions remain regarding specifics of the new arrangement.

E. Gordon Gee, who announced his retirement June 4, effective July 1, plans to take an approximately year-long sabbatical and then assume a teaching position at OSU’s Moritz College of Law while writing books, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. He has also expressed interest in continuing fundraising efforts for OSU.

Gee’s contract with the university stated he was to be granted “the permanent status of President Emeritus, with an appropriate stipend, secretary and office for a period of five years” if he chose to retire before the contract was up in 2017.

The contract also said he has been granted tenure at the Moritz College of Law and the College of Education and Human Ecology.

However, the specifics of Gee’s new position, including his exit package, have not been completed, OSU spokeswoman Gayle Saunders said in an email Sunday.

“The Board (of Trustees) and Dr. Gee are working through the details of Dr. Gee’s new role at the University, and we will make those available as soon as they are finalized,” the email read.

Gee’s supplemental executive retirement agreement indicates there has been about $2.33 million placed in his retirement account since June 2009.

Gee sent an email Friday to OSU students, faculty and staff expressing his gratitude for the last few years.

“I want to express my deep respect and affection for each and every member of this University family,” the email read. “I now move across the Oval, and do so with great pride in what we have accomplished together. I look forward to continuing to serve Ohio State as a committed citizen of the University. I also look forward to having more time to be engaged with my own family and to nurture personal friendships.”

Alutto, meanwhile, will be acting as president. His salary has not yet been determined, Saunders said in the Sunday email.

“Details of Interim President Alutto’s salary are being completed and we will provide that information as soon as it is available,” the email read.

Alutto was the OSU provost and executive vice president, but had announced in November that he planned to retire from his role June 30.

Joseph Steinmetz will assume Alutto’s former role, and in turn, David Manderscheid, from the University of Nebraska, will become the executive dean and vice provost of OSU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Details of the process by which the OSU Board of Trustees will search for and hire a permanent university president have not been released, Saunders said.

“The board is finalizing the selection process and will soon provide details regarding the search for a permanent president,” the email read.

The announcement of Gee’s retirement came days after controversial remarks Gee made at a Dec. 5 OSU Athletic Conference became public. Comments about Notre Dame and the SEC in particular, among other remarks, brought national attention.

A March 11 letter from OSU Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein to Gee on the subject of the offensive comments was obtained by The Lantern, where it was written that Gee’s remarks would not be tolerated. The letter outlined a remediation plan and said future mishaps will result in punitive action, including dismissal.

Gee earned slightly less than $1.9 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Gee became president of OSU in October 2007, but previously served as university president from 1990-1997.

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