Exactly one month after Lee Bollinger left his job as the University president to become head honcho at Columbia University, everyone in Ann Arbor has completely forgotten him.
“Lee who?” University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said after being woken up by a Daily reporter last night. “I don”t know who you”re talking about. You say he was president here for four years? That doesn”t even make sense. Why would someone be president of the University of Michigan and then just leave after four years? Stop harassing me with these stupid questions. No one is that vain.”
Since Bollinger”s departure from the University on Jan. 31 he has been heading up a charity project. He will be walking from Michigan to New York to raise money for the Lee Bollinger Needs A Bigger Salary Fund.
“Since the regents wouldn”t give me the $2 mil I wanted to stay at Michigan, I decided to try to get the money myself,” Bollinger said from a pay phone in Erie, Pa. “By the time I get to New York, I should have enough to stay at Columbia for at least two to three months before I ask for another raise or threaten to leave.”
But back in Ann Arbor, where former Business School Dean B. Joseph White has taken over for Bollinger as interim president until the regents finally admit that they want him here permanently, no one cares.
“The University was going to name the Life Sciences Institute after him if he would have stayed another 10 years,” said B. Joe, “but now I think he”s just going to get one of those ugly fences on the Diag. After all, he put them there.”
Bollinger”s departure means the University”s top two administrative positions are currently vacant. Provost Nancy Cantor skipped town last summer to become chancellor of the University of Illinois” campus in Urbana-Champaign.
“I didn”t even know what the hell a chancellor does, much less where Illinois was,” Cantor said yesterday. “But then they said the part about the champagne, and I packed my bags. Goodbye students!”
Paul Courant has stepped in as interim provost until a permanent provost is named.
“People make a big fuss about having two of our top leaders leave at the same time,” Courant said. “But it”s really no big deal, because the secret is that the provost doesn”t really do anything. I just have to wear one of those fancy robes at graduation and shine the president”s shoes once a week.”
Bollinger, however, did make one concession.
“Let”s face it. I had one foot out the door once I accepted the job as president here. Can you say “stepping stone?”” he said.