The University of Arkansas System today released a settlement between UA System President Donald Bobbit and former Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz over a portion of his contract that promised him a tenured faculty position if he left the chancellor’s job, which paid $714,000 at the time of his abrupt departure June 18,

When his departure was originally announced, it was understood that his pay would stop immediately, he’d vacate university housing and he’d expect only 240 hours in accumulated leave time.


However, as the document explains, the contract to be chancellor included a provision that he could be a tenured faculty member should he leave the chancellor’s job.

Bobbitt issued this statement:


While former Chancellor Steinmetz resigned as chancellor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus effective June 18, he did not relinquish his status as a tenured professor. However, because of the ongoing speculation relating to the circumstances surrounding his decision to resign and the possibility of his returning to campus, Dr. Steinmetz has concluded that he would not be able to be effective on the campus as a faculty member and we have mutually agreed to part ways. His unprecedented accomplishments as chancellor have elevated the campus and it is in exceptional standing moving forward. I will now continue working toward identifying permanent leadership at our flagship campus and am already pleased with the conversations I’ve had and encouraged by the positive momentum and optimistic outlook of the institution and those affiliated with it.

In return for his resignation from the tenured faculty position and an agreement not to take any action against the university, UA will pay Steinmetz $175,000 in 12 monthly payments beginning July 31. His accrued vacation pay will be paid at his rate of pay as of June 30, the lower faculty rate. Steinmetz had said he had 240 hours, or six weeks of accrued leave,  which would mean about $3,365 per week for another $20,000 if the 240-hour claim remains accurate.

The agreement also gives Steinmetz a “reasonable” amount of time to remove personal items from the chancellor’s residence. I was told by a campus spokesman earlier this week that the Steinmetzes were no longer living in the house.


UA System spokesman Nate Hinkel said the money would be paid with “private funds,” meaning the University of Arkansas Foundation.

The legal boilerplate about the parties’ obligations includes a passage about potential future “claims, violations and investigations.” In that section, Steinmetz says he has no knowledge of acts that could be a basis for a claim under any law or rule but said he would cooperate should any claim arise. He to provide any communications, texts, or social media posts that might be relevant if something did arise.


When Steinmetz resigned, he said he’d tired of the toxic atmosphere prevalent in many issues, including a recent controversy over campus honors of former Sen. J. William Fulbright. But his resignation followed by days a TV station inquiry about supposed unflattering photos of Steinmetz on social media. Photos were provided to the legislature who described them as compromising in some fashion. Steinmetz said at one point through a campus spokesman that the images were photoshopped.


Here’s the agreement between Steinmetz and Bobbitt.

The Steinmetz departure leaves another unanswered question: How will Bobbitt act on Steinmetz’s recommendation on the recent campus controversy: Keep Fulbright’s name on the colleges of arts and sciences; move his statue to a less prominent place, and remove the name of former Gov. Charles Brough from a campus dining hall. Hinkel said Bobbitt was still “talking to people” about that issue and not ready to make a recommendation to the UA Board of Trustees.