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On the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 31, an email arrived in the inbox of all faculty, staff and students of the University of Nevada, Reno. The email announced President Marc Johnson’s last day as president would be June 30, 2020. After his term as president ends in 2020, Johnson will transition to being an economics professor in the College of Business.

President Johnson’s decision to step down signals an opportunity for change and will likely alter the way the Nevada Sagebrush covers the university’s administration. Stepping down from the presidency surely was a tough decision, and the Nevada Sagebrush commends Marc Johnson for having the courage to announce his resignation, and wish him well as he transitions to his faculty role. 

In covering the campus community as the university’s independent student newspaper, the Nevada Sagebrush frequently reported on the decisions made by Marc Johnson and his administration. Occasionally, this meant being critical of his presidency, as the Nevada Sagebrush strives to be with all presidents and administrations. During the last few years, the university has been faced with several diversity issues, meaning the Nevada Sagebrush has covered said diversity issues and the way the administration responded. Johnson stewarded over a tumultuous period of growth and change at the University and managed to maintain relative stability despite rough patches. 

Knowing when to leave is hard, and wise leaders recognize when it’s time to hand over the reigns. Furthermore, the grace and hopefulness Johnson expressed in his announcement is commendable and should not be taken for granted.

The timing of the announcement feels unusual, and begs the question of what prompted the sudden announcement to step down. It’s been less than a few weeks since Johnson penned a letter affirming the University’s dedication to tackling issues of diversity and hate in light of the discovery of more swastika’s in dorms and the protests drawn against Charlie Kirk’s speaking appearance. While Johnson’s decision to retire from his post doesn’t feel shocking, why he chose now instead of earlier or later in the year is confusing, though perhaps no good time exists for such an announcement. 

The Nevada Sagebrush can be reached at or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.