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Originally published: 2013-04-18 18:07:36
Last modified: 2013-04-19 11:26:24

Peacock to step down as ASU chancellor

by Anna Oakes

Appalachian State University Chancellor Ken Peacock announced Thursday that he will step down from the post he has held for nine years.

Peacock announced the decision in a statement emailed to campus faculty at 5:49 p.m. Thursday.

"This is a difficult decision for me, but I believe it is the right time for Appalachian, and more importantly, the right time to make this change for my family. This is a decision both Rosanne and I have made together," Peacock said in the statement.

Peacock said he informed UNC System President Tom Ross and the ASU Board of Trustees of his decision on Thursday and that he plans to stay on as chancellor until a successor is appointed to the position.

Peacock joined the faculty in the Department of Accounting in the Walker College of Business in 1983.

"Becoming Appalachian's sixth chancellor in 2004 was an opportunity of which I never dreamed I would have," he said. "I am grateful for this honor and many of the experiences it has provided me, and I appreciate the camaraderie and support members of the Appalachian community have graciously shared with me."  

Under Peacock's tenure, ASU saw its freshman applications skyrocket; and the university achieved a number of athletic accomplishments, including three national FCS football championships, the expansion of Kidd Brewer Stadium and ASU's recent acceptance of an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference and move up to the FBS level of competition.

The campus also completed a number of other capital projects, including a new library and student recreation center, the construction of a new dining hall and the expansion of the student union and honors residence hall.

ASU also experienced challenges during Peacock's term, including complaints that the university failed to adequately respond to rape accusations against four ASU football players and another male student in 2011.

Administrators faced scrutiny in 2012 for placing sociology professor Jammie Price on involuntary administrative leave without a hearing, which raised concerns among faculty about due process and academic freedom.

But in his letter, Peacock spoke in only positive terms about his time at ASU.

"Rosanne and I both value the friendships we have made through this university, and knowing those will continue makes such a difference for us as we prepare to enter this next chapter of our lives," Peacock concluded. "I will continue to the best of my ability to serve the faculty, staff and students of this great institution."

ASU Athletics Director Charlie Cobb released the following statement Thursday: "Dr. Ken Peacock's announcement that he is stepping down as Appalachian State University's chancellor came as a big shock to the entire campus. No one embodies the Appalachian spirit better than Chancellor Peacock. He is committed to Appalachian being its best in all endeavors. His leadership will be missed but, thankfully, that will not be immediately."

Additional questions for the chancellor sent to university spokesman Hank Foreman were not immediately addressed as of presstime Thursday. An email to Board of Trustees Chairman Mike Steinback also was not immediately returned.