Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include more information and interviews with university officials.
Hai-Lung Dai will no longer serve as Temple’s provost, President Theobald wrote in an email to university faculty and staff on Tuesday.
“[Dai] has been relieved of his administrative responsibilities, effective immediately,” Theobald wrote. “He remains a member of Temple’s faculty.”
Dai has been a part of the Temple community since 2007 when he joined the College of Science and Technology as the dean of the school. He held positions as the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Chemistry and also as senior vice provost for international affairs. He became provost in 2013.
Hillel Hoffmann, director of National Communications, told The Temple News it is against university policy to discuss Dai’s exit and would not confirm if Dai resigned or was fired.
Tricia Jones, president of the Faculty Senate said Dai’s departure was “unanticipated for the most part.”
“We learned earlier in the month there was an ongoing conversation with the president and the provost,” Jones said. “[Dai and the Faculty Senate] didn’t agree on every issue, but he was very open and responsive. He was easy to work with.”
One of those issues was overspending on scholarship money, Jones said.
“This hasn’t been easy or painless,” Jones said. “[Dai] played a part in overspending of school money. This isn’t a problem that is new, there’s been overspending in the past.”
“But it’s an open question whether this cost more than we got back from the [increase in] students and their tuition,” she added. “It’s an investment that paid off in attracting high-profile students.”
The news of Dai’s exit comes after the university administration adjusted the 2016-2017 budget due to a $22 million deficit in the budget student financial aid.
An increased number of students eligible for financial aid caused the deficit and strained the aid system, according to a statement Hoffman provided to The Temple News.
The grants are given to incoming freshmen with GPAs above 3.360 and SAT scores over 1300. But the number of students achieving the required GPA rose 17 percent from last year, the statement read. The number of students with the required SAT score rose 29 percent.
Ken Kaiser, Temple’s CFO and treasurer, said administrators revised the budget with cuts and “internal reallocation” to ensure the $22 million would still make it to students.
“The [overspending] issue arose when the merit-based scholarship was more popular than anyone anticipated,” Kaiser said. “It accelerated at a pretty quick clip. [This] would have been difficult to predict, but had we known, we would have done the exact same thing we are doing now.”
“There will be cuts to each individual school, but I don’t suspect students will see any real impact,” Kaiser said. “The budget is $1.4 billion, and $22 million is a tiny, tiny piece.”
The Board of Trustees will vote to approve the budget on July 12.
Theobald said Dai’s position will be filled “promptly.”
Jones said the new provost will have a challenge maintaining the level of visibility Dai gave Temple.
“The Faculty Senate appreciated the opportunity to work with Hai-Lung Dai and we’re excited to welcome him back to the faculty,” Jones said.
Deans from the College of Science and Technology, College of Liberal Arts, School of Media and Communication, and Fox School of Business declined to comment.
Gillian McGoldrick and Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.