After abruptly resigning from his role as Florida International University President, Mark B. Rosenberg revealed in a statement that he “caused discomfort for a valued employee.”
In his initial letter of resignation Friday, Rosenberg cited his and his wife's health as a reason for his departure.
However, a public statement released Sunday morning reveals additional reasoning for his abrupt resignation.
"I unintentionally created emotional (not physical) entanglement," Rosenberg said in the statement. “I have apologized. I apologize to you. I take full responsibility and regret my actions."
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The Miami Herald reported that a woman in her 20s who worked closely with the 72-year-old university president confided to a colleague in December that he had been harassing her for months. The school hired an outside law firm to lead an investigation, which will likely result in a final report within weeks, the newspaper reported.
Rosenberg's statement also reveals that he has been seeking mental health counseling due to stress regarding his wife’s declining health. He wrote that his wife of 47 years, Rosalie, has Type-1 diabetes, advanced dementia and is "largely wheelchair-bound."
According to Rosenberg's statement, he regrets having allowed "these issues to spilled over to [his] work."
The Herald reported that the harassment began in October, and the woman rejected his overtures, saying they made her feel uncomfortable. Rosenberg apologized profusely and said it would not happen again, but made the same unwanted overtures again a few weeks later, with the woman again conveying her discomfort, the Herald reported.
When it happened a third time, the woman decided to distance herself from Rosenberg, and told a colleague she could not continue working with him, the newspaper reported.
The next day, Rosenberg told FIU Board of Trustees Chairman Dean Colson what had transpired, and Colson launched the investigation. The woman was placed on paid administrative leave, and it took several weeks for her to agree to sit down with investigators. She did so Wednesday, the Herald reported, and Rosenberg was given a choice Thursday: resign or face termination at an emergency meeting of FIU's Board of Trustees.
"We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the events requiring his resignation," said Colson in a statement addressed to the university community.
The Board of Trustees has selected Kenneth A. Jessell as interim president of FIU while the university searches for Rosenberg's replacement.
Colson said Rosenberg's statement "provides insight into why the Board did not believe Friday was the appropriate time to celebrate the many accomplishments of FIU the past 13 years."
The university's accomplishments in the last 13 years of Rosenberg's presidency include increased enrollment, improved graduation rates, the hiring of over 400 new full-time faculty members and the growth of research expenditures by over 120%.
"FIU has strong personnel and workplace conduct policies, takes all workplace conduct seriously, and remains committed to enforcing its policies thoroughly and swiftly," Colson said.
Due to employee privacy considerations, FIU will not comment further at this time.