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U. ACADEMIC SENATE DROPS CALL FOR REVIEW OF PETERSON

The University of Utah Academic Senate has withdrawn its call for a review of the performance of U. President Chase N. Peterson, who has announced he will retire at the end of the next academic year, and the State Board of Regents has dropped the matter.

State Board of Regents Chairman Douglas Foxley announced Friday that the regents, in accordance with the senate's newest request, will not pursue a review and will accept Peterson's decision. The retirement will be effective June 30, 1991.

The regents, who met at Weber State College, discussed Peterson in closed session Friday, but Foxley announced their decision in open meeting.

He read a letter, dated June 18, from the executive committee of the U. Academic Senate that said the senate's earlier resolution had been rendered moot by Peterson's announced intention to retire and the senate did not want to press the call for regent action.

On June 4 the senate asked the U. Institutional Council and State Board of Regents "to examine the question of whether continuation in office of the current president is in the best interest of the University of Utah and of the community which it serves."

Faculty members were upset about the announcement of the U. cold fusion experiments at a press conference; the fumbling over the $15 million gift by businessman James L. Sorenson that was withdrawn when faculty opposed renaming of the U. Medical Center; the announced consolidation of the provost-academic vice president positions that was also withdrawn; and the $500,000 "anonymous" donation to the National Cold Fusion Institute that actually came from the U. itself.

The June 18 letter, signed by U. Academic Vice President Joseph Taylor, who is senate president, also said the senate's executive committee, Administrative Structure Committee and faculty want to applaud Peterson's many accomplishments during his seven years at the U. helm and "commend his timely and statesmanlike decision that will help resolve the recent divisions within the university.

"We pledge our commitment to work with the president and the governing boards during the coming academic year in order to ensure that this period will be productive for the university and to prepare a secure foundation for his successor," the letter read.

Foxley said Peterson has the regents' full support.

There was no mention of when a presidential search committee would be appointed to find Peterson's successor. Last week, Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr said the committee probably won't be named until after a new president is appointed for Weber at the end of July. The regents are also searching for a new Salt Lake Community College president.