Hours after University of Central Florida President Dale Whittaker offered to resign on Tuesday amid a deepening probe into his administration's use of state funds, a student-run online petition raked in more than 1,000 signatures to keep him in office.
"President Whittaker decided to 'fall on the sword' so UCF can have a clean slate with Florida legislature," reads the Change.org petition
, currently signed by more than 1,500 digital backers. "This petition is to try and bring to light that President Whittaker should not take the fall for another president's actions."
Whittaker submitted his resignation to the UCF Board of Trustees on Feb. 19 amid an investigation into improper use of nearly $85 million in leftover funds, including $38 million for a new building finished in August. Whittaker terminated four administration officials in January, and just last week, UCF Board of Trustees member Marcos Marchena resigned.
"Whittaker doesn't deserve to be the fall guy for decisions [former President John C. Hitt] made as president," says a commenter on the petition.
UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Garvy said in a letter to trustees that Whittaker is "putting the interests of our students and the University above his own" by resigning.
Garvy added he'll convene a special meeting "to address this matter and the steps we need to take as the governing authority over the University."
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