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Brandeis President Fred Lawrence To Resign

Will step down at the end of the university’s school year

Stephanie Butnick
January 31, 2015
Brandeis University in Boston, Mass. (U.S. News)
Brandeis University in Boston, Mass. (U.S. News)

Brandeis President Fred Lawrence announced his resignation today in a letter published on the university’s website. “After careful consideration, and in close consultation with the Board of Trustees,” Lawrence wrote, “I have decided to step down as President at the end of this, my fifth academic year.”

Lawrence’s tenure hasn’t been without drama. In April 2014, Lawrence drew criticism for the university’s decision, under his leadership, to revoke an honorary degree set to be awarded to the activist and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali. More recently, Lawrence has come under fire for his handling of a campus controversy that began when a student named Daniel Mael published a fellow student’s anti-NYPD tweets, and which quickly escalated to a contentious battle over the limits of free speech.

While Lawrence’s letter made no indication of either controversy, the announcement comes less than three weeks after he wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal defending his—and the university’s–commitment to free speech in the wake of the recent scandal.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.