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University of Arizona President Robert Robbins says he will be stepping down

Robert Robbins
Robert Robbins in 2020.

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins will step down following numerous unfavorable reports about the school’s finances.

In an announcement sent to the campus Tuesday, Robbins said he’ll leave when his contract is up in 2026, or sooner if the Arizona Board of Regents, known as ABOR, finds a new president for the university before then. 

Robbins has been under fire since the school fell into a $177 million budget deficit, forcing deep cuts at the university,  including Robbins himself taking a salary cut

Robbins said in the statement that he’ll do his best to give the school a smooth transition.

“The past 18 months certainly have been difficult for our University, but I am confident that our passion and commitment for doing what is right, as well as our thorough and thoughtful analysis to address our ongoing challenges, will bring our institution greater stability in short order,” he wrote.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs  said last week she was losing patience with Robbins following a  report by the Arizona Republic that he hired a lobbyist to try and stop the California attorney general from imposing hefty fines on an online university UA had acquired. 

A spokesperson for Hobbs told KJZZ News the governor did not ask Robbins to step aside.

“I look forward to continued work to address the University of Arizona’s finances and restore the public’s trust in one of our state’s most important public institutions,” Hobbs said in her own statement. “During this time of leadership transition, I will continue to offer my support to the university and to ABOR as a successor is identified."

Robbins becomes the latest university leader to step aside amid the financial crisis at UA.

Fred DuVal stepped down as chair of ABOR in March, though he remains on the board. 

DuVal’s decision followed a comment from Hobbs that she was “exploring” dismissals among the regents.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.