Under fire for controversial online posts, the chair of Ursinus College's board of trustees has resigned, college president Brock Blomberg announced in an email to faculty and students Thursday evening.
Michael C. Marcon, chief executive officer of Equity Risk Partners, based in San Francisco, both relinquished his chairmanship and left the board, the college said.
Marcon's resignation came on the day he met with students for two hours and apologized for tweets he made on his private account over the last few years. He met with faculty and did the same Wednesday.
"I was proud of the way the Ursinus faculty and staff allowed me to address a situation that has been so concerning to the Ursinus family," Marcon said in a statement. "However, in order for true healing and true growth to take root, it needs to occur under fresh leadership of the board of trustees. The students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni deserve the greatest chance for renewal at this time, and so I believe it is in the best interest of the Ursinus family that I resign as chair of the board of trustees."
Last week, senior Jordan Ostrum posted the tweets on his Facebook page and another student wrote about them on Odyssey, a social-content platform.
The tweets, which Marcon has since removed from his Twitter account, roiled the small liberal arts college in Collegeville.
"Gotta love a janitor with a 'Ban Fracking Now' sticker on his bucket. Barack is clearly reaching his target demographic," said one of the tweets.
"Yoga pants? Per my DTW visual survey, only 10 percent of users should be wearing them. The rest need to be in sweats - or actually get dressed," said another.
A third, which was a retweet, referred to Caitlyn Jenner: "Bruce Jenner got 25 K for speaking engagements. Caitlyn gets $100K. What wage gap?"
The tweets were posted on his personal account before he became board chair.
The college in a release said the contents of Marcon's tweets were "considered by many on campus to be insensitive and disconcerting," and "led to a larger campus debate about civil discourse."
Marcon, a 1986 graduate of Ursinus, had served on the board since 2010 and chaired it since July 1.
Vice chair Nina Stryker, a 1978 Ursinus graduate and partner at the Philadelphia-based law firm Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel L.L.P., will step in as interim board chair. The board will meet later this month to discuss its leadership transition, the college announced.
The college will hold a town-hall meeting Friday afternoon to talk about "how we can all continue learning and healing from this experience," Blomberg said.
Several students who were in the meetings with Marcon on Thursday were pleasantly stunned.
"It shows the power that student advocacy has, which - wow!" said junior Zev Bliss, 20, a sociology major from Portland, Maine.
But this can't be the end, he said. The college needs to make the campus a more welcoming place for students from diverse backgrounds, he said.
"The conversation is not and cannot be over," Bliss said.
Junior Kayla O'Mahony called the news "a proud moment for the student body and faculty who have unified together on this issue."
She gave Marcon credit for coming to campus and meeting with students, but said she would have liked to hear more concrete steps that he planned to take.
He "clearly . . . needs to go through some type of diversity rehab," said O'Mahony, 20, an art and art-history major from outside Boston.
Marcon's is the second board change at Ursinus in less than a week. Fellow board member David Bloom, a 1987 Ursinus graduate and president of Resource Real Estate in Philadelphia, resigned in protest over the tweets earlier this week, calling them "elitist, racist, sexist, body-shaming," and "generally intolerant," and saying Marcon should step down.