By Havre Daily News staff and wire report
In resigning as head of the Matanuska-Susitna College this month, Stephen Sylvester collected about $71,000 and a promise from the state university system not to say anything disparaging about him.
In addition, the University of Alaska has agreed to strike any negative comments about Sylvester's performance from his personnel file if he requests it, according to the eight-page agreement.
The agreement also forbids Sylvester, a former dean at Montana State University-Northern, from making disparaging comments about the university.
Sylvester was under investigation because of complaints about his management style and personal behavior when he resigned Aug. 1. The investigation was never completed, university officials said.
Sylvester, who has returned to Havre, said today he knows nothing about the allegations made about him at the college. He said there were never any formal charges made against him, and that those who made complaints didn't go through normal university channels.
Sylvester said he left Mat-Su College because he and the university didn't suit each other. "It was basically a bad fit, the wrong timing," Sylvester said.
He added he was trying to make some changes at Mat-Su and encountered some opposition.
Sylvester was hired last July to head the college, which has about 1,500 students. In May he was placed on paid leave pending the investigation.
The search committee that recommended Sylvester for the job in Alaska learned later about problems he had at MSU-Northern in Havre, where he had served as a professor and dean of the College and Arts and Sciences.
In Montana, 13 of the 24 faculty members Sylvester supervised signed a petition in March 2000 asking that he be removed as dean, according to a report in the university's student newspaper.
Under his agreement with the University of Alaska, Sylvester will get $45,000 for six months of salary, $9,588 for nearly a month's worth of annual leave, $7,500 for moving expenses, $1,250 to pay for packing and shipping his books, $4,184 for six months of medical coverage and about $2,400 to compensate him for what would have been contributed to pension plans.