Letter from the Lantern: Ohio State deserves answers on President Johnson’s resignation, here’s why

The Lantern
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Letter from The Lantern Staff to Ohio State, Kristina Johnson and The Board of Trustees. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

After 2 1/2 years in office, University President Kristina M. Johnson resigned.

We still don’t know why.

The Ohio State community faces a big and unexpected change in leadership. With that comes a lot of questions, ones The Lantern is seeking to answer.

After Johnson announced her resignation Monday without an apparent reason, speculation spread like wildfire on social media.

The Lantern spoke with many university leaders, all of whom expressed their surprise about the resignation. In the attempts to find the truth, however, The Lantern has been unable to learn what happened.

None of the rumors will dissipate until the truth is revealed. As the independent student voice of Ohio State, we demand clarity. The public deserves to know why Johnson is departing the university after such a short period of time.

Ohio State is a public institution, and that requires transparency. The Ohio State community isn’t getting that from Johnson, Ohio State or the Board of Trustees.

Here’s what we know

  • Johnson is halfway through her five-year contract
  • The Columbus Dispatch reported Monday Johnson was going to resign after the Board of Trustees asked her to step down following an investigation from a third party, conducted after her staff raised concerns. No information about the investigation was revealed by the board or the university.
  • Johnson announced her resignation Monday night in an universitywide email but did not include a reason for her spring 2023 departure.
  • University spokesperson Ben Johnson said in an email Monday there was not an investigation, and an outside consultant was engaged to assist with the president’s performance review, “as has been done in years past.” The board was aware of Kristina M. Johnson’s intent to leave prior to the November meetings, thus, the annual review was not completed, he said.
  • The Columbus Dispatch has since reported concerns were raised from Kristina M. Johnson’s staff during the consultant’s work. What the concerns were and more details on the review are unclear.
  • Ben Johnson said in a statement Kristina M. Johnson decided to step down, “so that a search for the next president can proceed and adequate time remains for her to assist with a seamless transition.”

Ohio State and Johnson are doing a disservice to Ohio State’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, and we deserve better. After her time here at Ohio State, the last thing Johnson can do is give us a reason why she decided to leave.

On behalf of The Lantern,

Jessica Langer

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Lantern Editor Jessica Langer. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

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