The State University of New York at Oneonta on Thursday announced the abrupt resignation of its president only weeks after it experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak of any public university in the state.

The departure of the president, Barbara Jean Morris, comes amid widespread turmoil at colleges and universities across the country as they try to maintain some semblance of campus life during the pandemic.

But Oneonta has stood out for its troubles.

Last month, more than 700 students there tested positive for the virus, leading the college to shut down in-person classes.

The fallout from the crisis led to a state review, a change of coronavirus protocols throughout the SUNY system — and now the resignation of Dr. Morris, who did not offer any public comment on Thursday.

The mayor of Oneonta, Gary Herzig, said: “I think that we all recognize that this was a time where change was needed. It’s a time for a new start.”

Dennis Craig, who recently served as interim president at another SUNY school, Purchase College, was named as a temporary replacement.

State and local officials at a news conference on Thursday announcing the change praised the efforts of Mr. Craig, who guided a successful reopening plan at Purchase, which is in Westchester County. That school has reported just seven cases at its campus of more than 4,000 students.

It is not known if SUNY Oneonta, which has 6,000 students, will reopen its campus for in-person classes for the spring semester.



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