John Paff, former vice president of university relations, resigned Jan. 28, effective immediately.
An email from Jeff Berggren, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing, was sent to faculty and staff at 11 a.m. Jan. 29.
“Out of respect for John’s time during this transition please do not contact him for any work-related items as we have committed to minimize our requests of him,” Berggren wrote in the email. “Julie Hendryx and I will handle any communication with John on behalf of the university.”
Hendryx, interim vice president for business and finance, said she would neither confirm nor deny if Paff resigned by his own choice.
“Transitions occur at different periods and at different points,” Hendryx said. “Anybody can sign a resignation letter at any point in time.”
Berggren and Hendryx said they found out about the resignation when Paff submitted his letter Jan. 28. Hendryx would not comment on whether there was discussion about his resignation prior to that.
“I won’t go much more into that as a matter of private employment relationship,” she said. “I’m sorry, from an HR standpoint, you’re going to get tired of hearing that.”
Hendryx said it would be wrong to assume the resignation was forced. She also said she wanted to stop rumors about Paff’s resignation.
“There was no moral failures related to or involved in his departure,” she said. “This was not part of a budget reduction, it was not related to the board of trustees meetings or anything like that.”
Del Doughty, Ph.D., interim senior vice president of academic affairs, said he found out about the resignation in an impromptu meeting with the senior leadership team in President G. Blair Dowden’s office Jan. 28.
“I had left for the day, but then about 6:30 [p.m.] ended up coming back because I think he [Dowden] wanted to break that kind of news face-to-face,” Doughty said. “I think it’s locked down by human resource legalities, but [Dowden] said as much as he could.”
Paff did not attend the meeting, Doughty said. Paff told The Huntingtonian he was unavailable for comment.
“I suppose it was personal,” Doughty said. “I don’t assume he was fired. I don’t know what his reasons were.”
Berggren said he has interacted with Paff through email several times since his resignation.
“The communication lines are still open,” he said.
Paff is still under contract with HU and will teach a social media class for the EXCEL adult degree program, Berggren said.
Berggren said that discussions have begun on how to fill Paff’s role.
“I would suspect there will be some level of hiring to replace that,” he said.
“But we don’t know right now how that will look.”
Hendryx said the university will look at the position strategically.
“Our process as an institution is that every time an opening comes up, we don’t automatically just rehire someone for that opening,” Hendryx said.
“We strategically look at it. That’s just a good opportunity for any business and for the university to look forward and put resources where they need to be and maximize resources.”