Dismissed OCC chancellor doesn’t know why

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

The defrocked chancellor of Oakland Community College still doesn’t know why he has been placed on administrative leave, according to his attorney.

Ousted Chancellor -- Dr. Timothy R. Meyer , Oakland Community College

Timothy Meyer, who had held the job since 2008, was removed by a 5-1 vote of the OCC board Tuesday night.

“The basic question I have is, ‘what’s the purpose?’ ” Raymond Cotton said Friday. “Normally in higher education, people are not asked to step down until the end of the semester unless there’s some wrongdoing. None of that has been alleged here.”

The board named Peter Provenzano interim chancellor, elevating him from vice chancellor of administrative services. The move drew the approval of the OCC Faculty Association, which once gave Meyer the first vote of no confidence in school history, but it has not been explained or addressed by the college.

“Because this is a personnel matter, I’m not able to comment,” said OCC spokeswoman Janet Roberts. “I can tell you he’s currently employed. I can’t comment on his status beyond that.”

According to Cotton, of the Washington, D.C., office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Meyer had no idea his job was in jeopardy when the board went into executive session at the end of Tuesday’s meeting.

Peter Provenzano, Interim Chancellor, Oakland Community College

Meyer’s biography and his listing under “chief college officers” have been scrubbed from the OCC website. The college has taken his keys and cell phone, Cotton said, and banned him from campus.

Cotton, who specializes in higher education, said Meyer has about 31/2 years left on a five-year contract with a provision that limits a termination payout to 18 months. An analysis by MichiganCapitalConfidential.com in 2016 put his salary at $260,000 for overseeing five campuses and approximately 40,000 students per year.

Meyer, who holds a Ph.D. in pathology and epidemiology from the University of Florida, came to OCC from Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

By 2014, he had run afoul of the OCC faculty over issues of communication, management style and the general direction of the institution, said faculty association president Robyn Tennison.

After 93 percent of OCC’s teachers approved a “no confidence” resolution, the board stood behind him, and “things didn’t get better,” Tennison said.

Three years and three months later, the board dismissed him and promoted Provenzano, who was finance director for Macomb County before arriving at OCC three years ago.

Provenzano is a CPA with a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State and a master’s in administration from Central Michigan. He came to OCC after three years as finance director for Macomb County.

“We’re looking forward to working with him,” said Tennison, a communications teacher at the Highland Lakes campus. “When I spoke to him, he said he wanted to be a lot more involved with the faculty and with things going on internally. He said communication was important to him. It was good to hear.”


Twitter: @nrubin_dn