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Medaille's President Bascuas resigns Refusal to commit to long capital expansion campaign cited

Medaille College President Joseph W. Bascuas has resigned after four years leading the school in North Buffalo, the college announced Monday.

The private, four-year liberal arts college on Agassiz Circle is set to embark on a capital campaign that would require a long-term obligation from Bascuas, who wasn't ready to make that commitment, said William M. Collins, chairman of Medaille's board.

"He didn't feel he could commit as long as we needed him to," Collins said.

While an interim president has been named to take over his duties, Bascuas will remain at the college until December to wrap up some initiatives that began during his tenure, according to college officials.

Bascuas -- who has overseen a period of rapid change at the college but had a rocky relationship with the faculty -- then will go on a paid sabbatical from January until the end of the school year, officials added.

Collins, who said Bascuas and the board have been discussing his status with the college in recent weeks, wouldn't disclose the president's earnings.

But according to Medaille financial statements filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2004-05, Bascuas received a base salary of $166,000; a benefits and deferred compensation package worth $38,237; and an expense account and other allowances totaling $31,000.

In April, the college also purchased for $945,000 a mansion on Lincoln Parkway, about a mile from campus, to be used as the president's residence.

Bascuas was not available Monday to comment on his departure.

Collins said both Bascuas and the board agreed the school would need a longer commitment from its president to lead the school through the capital campaign.

Bascuas decided to resign now so the college can begin a search and have a new president in place by fall 2007, Collins said. It also gives Bascuas time to look elsewhere for employment, he said.

Five to seven years was his original timetable at Medaille when he arrived in 2002 from the Argosy Education Group, a publicly traded for-profit company that provides educational programs, Collins said.

"I think he feels there's another presidency for him," Collins said. "He's been getting a lot of inquiries over the past couple years."

Collins credited Bascuas, Medaille's fifth president, with leading the school during a period of "unprecedented growth," which includes a boost in enrollment and the doubling of the college's operating budget to $46 million.

But there also was tension between Bascuas and the faculty during this period of change.

In June 2004, Medaille's 75 faculty voted overwhelmingly that they had no confidence in Bascuas.

Faculty claimed he "repeatedly and deliberately alienated staff, students and faculty," made "decisions unilaterally" and surrounded himself with new administrators who "shield him from contact with the rest of the Medaille community."

Medaille's board of trustees, meanwhile, named Richard K. Davis, vice president of institutional advancement, as interim president, effective immediately.

Davis has managed development, alumni relations, communication and admissions at Medaille for the past year.

He has more than 15 years experience in higher education, and before coming to Medaille, served as vice president of institutional advancement at Alvernia College in Reading, Pa.


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