COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Word Monday of Dr. Kristina Johnson’s plan to step down as president of Ohio State University spread quickly throughout the university community.
Thoughts from students about how Johnson was as president are mixed, but everyone was surprised at the resignation.
“I found it very shocking,” said senior Megan Foster. “It was kind of a shock to all of us. We were all sitting together and didn’t really expect that quickly and so suddenly.”
“It’s always a shock when anyone steps down, especially the president of the university,” said junior Matthew Holzapfel.
Students received the official word in an email Monday evening containing a letter from Johnson. In that letter, she said the decision to step down in May 2023 was a difficult one.
“It’s just shock first,” said second-year student Rohan Banerjee. “You don’t really know what to think about it, and the second question is why?’”
“It’s very vague, I can say that,” Holzapfel said. “The email she sent was very vague. It didn’t really give any information about specifically why she stepped down.”
Some students thought Johnson did a great job leading Ohio State through the COVID-19 pandemic, while others critiqued her handling of student safety and security on and around campus.
“I would say there is some things that she didn’t really do that well when she was president of campus, but there were some things she did really well,” Holzapfel said.
“I think she’d done an alright job,” said senior Ava Miller. “I think there are things that could have been better, just that students are frustrated about, but I think, overall, she did an OK job.”
As students process Monday’s announcement, they’re also thinking about who will lead Ohio State next.
“Just that intermediate process of trying to find a, well who’s our next president, what are they going to do, what are their goals, is definitely something that’s going to be a huge talking point for the entire student body,” Banerjee said.
Ohio State is planning on releasing more information after the new year about how the community can participate in the search for the next president.