TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona’s president will retain her salary after she steps down next year and takes a yearlong sabbatical.

The Arizona Board of Regents will pay President Ann Weaver Hart’s $475,000 salary until June 2018, although her term as president will end in 2017.

Hart asked the board not to extend her contract at the last meeting and allow it to expire at the end of June 2018, said Pam Scott, a school spokeswoman.

Scott said the regents decided to begin a search this fall and end Hart’s contract only if they choose to hire a successor. They hope to hire someone by mid-2017.

A regents’ official told The Arizona Daily Star (http://bit.ly/2d63n5x ) that Hart’s departure is a termination of her contract by the board without a cause. It follows controversy over Hart’s decision to join the board that oversees the for-profit DeVry University, which is facing a federal lawsuit for deceiving students. DeVry denies those claims. DeVry’s board pays Hart $170,000 per year in salary and stock.

Hart is being allowed to take a sabbatical even though the school usually requires employees to have been on the job for at least six years to do so, The Star reported. Hart will have only five years when the deal starts next school year.

Hart also avoided a rule that requires those interested in a sabbatical to submit written plans for how they’ll spend their time off, according to the newspaper.

But Scott said the regents have the ability to award a sabbatical and they are not bound by UA policy.

UA policy doesn’t give the regents any power to approve sabbaticals, but spokeswoman Sarah Harper says the board isn’t limited by the university policy when negotiating individual contracts for the presidents. “The board is the governing body for the universities and as such it retains the authority over employment related decisions,” Harper said.

When her leave ends, Hart will become a professor in the College of Education. Her transition deal calls for her to receive a salary equivalent to the highest paid to any faculty member in that college.

The regents agreed to the faculty position when they hired Hart in 2012.


Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.tucson.com