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Purdue Board of Trustees’ upholds chancellor’s contractual agreement despite backlash

(Provided Photo/Purdue Northwest)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thomas Keon, the chancellor of Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, will fulfill his contract with the university despite controversial remarks.

He has been the school’s leader for the past 12 years and said he had known for the past few years that his last day as chancellor would be June 30, 2024.

In an email obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Keon will step down as chancellor next year and continue serving as a faculty member. This decision was made under the Purdue University system’s limitations on how long a chancellor can hold the position.

However, Keon faced criticism in December after impersonating an Asian accent during a winter commencement ceremony. He apologized following calls for his resignation, but the decision to retain him as a faculty member has caused controversy. Faculty Senate Chair Thomas Roach has accused a “privileged few” on the board of trustees of protecting Keon and further alienating minority communities.

Roach stated to News 8, after reviewing the board’s actions, saying that “the board continues to make decisions that run contrary to the needs and values of the university and that violate the precedents of university governance.” He has also characterized the board as an “activist board of trustees” appointed in a highly partisan political environment and not respecting the values, goals, and traditions of the university.”

The Post-Tribune reported the board of trustees has begun the search for a new chancellor.