FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Vice President of Academic Affairs for Edison State College, Dr. George S. Atkins, was suddenly placed on administrative leave Tuesday afternoon.
In a termination letter issued to Atkins, Dr. Kenneth Walker, the college's president, cited various cases of "insubordination," writing "it has become evident you no longer wish to work under my supervision."
The full letter is available here.
According to a statement from the school, an interim replacement is expected in the coming days.
Atkins says the move did not surprise him, saying after he blew the whistle on course-swapping at the college, the working environment became hostile under Walker.
"Maybe to some extent it's a relief to get out of what I think is a culture of fear, as it's been described by several consultants," Atkins said.
WINK News tried to reach Walker for comment, but security guards were not allowing media representatives to enter his campus office.
Professor Ellie Bunting says losing Atkins at Edison could be one of the biggest blows to the school.
"Everybody admires him. He's honest, he's got integrity," Bunting said. "He's the kind of person you want leading the academic unit of a college."
She says students could lose out in the end, as the college awaits a rapidly-approaching accreditation review, with what could be a change in cast.
"We're left now with what? 6 weeks before SACS comes or less? And we don't seem to have an academic leader," Bunting said.
For student Michael Grodam, the reasons for wanting to fire Atkins do not add up and thinks retaliation is at work.
"You have this good-old-boy attitude," Grodam said. "(He's) going against the grain and rubbing everyone the wrong way, and they're punishing him for it."
The college's Board of Trustees has to approve the termination. The board's next meeting is Oct. 25.