Dakota State University president resigns; regents appoint SDSU vice president to lead school

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PIERRE, South Dakota — David Borofsky, president of Dakota State University for the past 2½ years, resigned unexpectedly Wednesday, citing the need for an immediate change in leadership at the Madison university.

The South Dakota Board of Regents announced and accepted Borofsky's resignation Wednesday at the board's annual planning meeting. Borofsky was not at the meeting, but in a phone interview with The Associated Press said it was his decision to step down.

Borofsky will be replaced by Marysz Rames as interim while the regents search for a new leader. Rames will leave her position as the vice president for student affairs at South Dakota State University and is expected to be working full-time in Madison by the middle of September.

Borofsky said the time was right for new leadership after the school had replaced many administrators since he took office. Two of three vice presidents and three of four college deans are new since he started in January 2012, he said. The school's athletic director is also new. Not all of the changes have been "met with joy and happiness," he said.

"For us to go to the next level, there needs to be some healing," he said.

Jack Warner, the executive director of the Board of Regents, said some of Borofsky's recent decisions had bothered students and got to be "pretty controversial." He cited a decision by the president to move a dean and assistant dean back to teaching positions.

"He made a number of changes; not everyone agreed with those. So, there were voices of discontent with some recent decisions and I think those led him to conclude that probably the best leadership for the institution going forward was someone else," Warner said.

University presidents often announce their resignation months in advance to give the governing bodies time to find an interim or replacement president. Borofsky said Dakota State University needed to make changes immediately.

"I don't think we have that kind of time," he said. He said he was not asked to resign.

Rames said she wasn't aware of the specifics of Borofsky's decisions and couldn't comment on any dissatisfaction with the former president. She said she's going to focus on building upon the university's academic success.

"(The regents) have the confidence in me to provide leadership to the campus and Dakota State University is a great university," she said. "I'm excited to get over there and work with the faculty, staff and students."

Although Barofsky's departure was sudden — the Board of Regents modified its agenda Wednesday afternoon to accept his resignation and Borofsky said he would be gone by the end of the day Wednesday — he said he has nothing to hide.

"There are no hidden agendas. I didn't steal any money, I didn't break any laws, I didn't change any policies," he said. "I've been in (higher education) long enough to know when a change is necessary."

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