Sonoma State University prez retires days after being placed on leave for ‘insubordination,' striking deal with Gaza camp

"I want to acknowledge how deeply concerned I am about the impact the statement has had.”


On Thursday, California State University Sonoma State campus President Mike Lee announced his retirement just days after being placed on administrative leave for "insubordination" after he caved to demands of Gaza Camp activists in an agreement. 

In a press release, CSU Chancellor Mildred García said, "President Ming-Tung ‘Mike’ Lee has informed me of his decision to retire from his role at Sonoma State University." 

"I will continue to work with Acting President Nathan Evans and our Board of Trustees leadership during this transitional period. Additional information will be forthcoming," She added.  

On Tuesday, the former Sonoma State University president distributed a campuswide message revealing an agreement he made with campus protesters. Chancellor García revealed in a statement that it was "sent without the appropriate approvals."  

"For now, because of this insubordination and consequences it has brought upon the system, President Lee has been placed on administrative leave," She added. "I want to acknowledge how deeply concerned I am about the impact the statement has had on the Sonoma State community, and how challenging and painful it will be for many of our students and community members to see and read." 

"The heart and mission of the CSU is to create an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone we serve, not to marginalize one community over another," the statement concluded.  

According to Politico, in Lee's message he vowed that the University would initiate an academic boycott of Israel, and review the school's investments for ties to Israel, "to determine a course of action leading to divestment strategies that include seeking ethical alternatives.”  

Lee sent out a follow-up message on Wednesday to apologize for the agreement. He said, "In my attempt to find agreement with one group of students, I marginalized other members of our student population and community."  

"I realize the harm that this has caused, and I take full ownership of it," Lee added. "I deeply regret the unintended consequences of my actions.”

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