WKU Potter College Dean Larry Snyder speaks out on his resignation, reinstatement

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Last week, Western Kentucky University acting Provost Dr. Cheryl Stevens sent an e-mail to faculty and staff that Dr. Larry Snyder would resume his role as dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters, effective Monday, April 15.

After a hectic and crazy past three-and-a-half weeks, Snyder spoke exclusively with WNKY about what this whole experience has been like for him.

“It’s a little bit odd. It’s a bit surreal being back here,” said Snyder. “In some ways, it doesn’t feel like I’ve ever been gone. In other ways, it feels like I was gone for a very long time.”

On March 26, Snyder was forced to resign from his role as dean of Potter College – something that caught many people at the university off guard.

“I thought that was it, and it was time for me to transition into something else,” he added. “I had already begun to make that mental switch as to what came next.”

What did come next, though, isn’t anything Snyder could have anticipated.

Students and faculty alike responded in full support of Snyder, with protests and special meetings being held in the hope that Snyder would be reinstated as dean.

“To have that kind of response from the campus community and the local community was really quite amazing, very gratifying, and very humbling,” Snyder said. “It was surprising.”

Much of the outcry to Snyder’s forced resignation led to WKU Provost Terry Ballman eventually stepping down from her position. This, of course, in response to the University Senate’s 5o-to-10 vote of no confidence in Ballman.

Snyder, who didn’t want to involve himself in the situation, was stunned by the vote.

“When it was as overwhelming as it was, that was just astounding because it’s such a remarkable kind of event, and particularly on this campus,” he said. “We’ve never had anything like that before.”

Following Ballman’s resignation, WKU President Timothy Caboni appointed Dr. Cheryl Stevens as acting Provost.

Stevens, looking for stability and a reliable team of deans, made the decision to bring Snyder back into the fold as dean of Potter College.

“I owed it to them to come back and finish the job,” said Snyder. “It’s just part of a very strange journey, and so it was just one more sort of unexpected event along the way.”

One of the most complicated parts about this entire ordeal was the timing of Snyder’s departure, especially with final exams right around the corner.

“It’s important to have stability at all levels, and particularly as you’re coming to the end of an academic year,” he noted. “I think that added to the trauma.”

Trauma that has now been remedied with Snyder’s return.

And it’s clear from the signs outside the dean’s office that students and staff are happy to have Snyder back as dean.

“I’ve been brought to tears more than once by all of this,” said Snyder. “It’s been an amazing experience to have students come out and be supportive of me.”

Provost Stevens also announced that Snyder will remain as dean until his term ends on June 30, 2021.