The University of Massachusetts has announced that J. Keith Motley will step down as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Boston at the end of the academic year. Dr. Motley, the eighth chancellor of UMass-Boston, was appointed to the post in 2007.
The University of Massachusetts-Boston enrolls about 13,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 graduate students. African Americans make up 15 percent of the undergraduate student body.
Dr. Motley’s resignation comes at a time when the university is experiencing declining enrollment and has accumulated $30 million in debt. Protesters held a rally in front of the State House on Beacon Hill in Boston in support of Dr. Motley. Tanisha Sullivan, head of the Boston chapter of the NAACP, said “this is starting to feel like systemic attack on Black leadership and we have to take a stand. We will resist.”
Prior to his appointment as chancellor, Dr. Motley served as vice president for business, marketing, and public affairs in the president office at the University of Massachusetts. Earlier, he served as vice chancellor for student affairs at the Boston campus and as dean of student services at Northeastern University in Boston.
Dr. Motley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University and a Ph.D. from Boston College. He plans on taking a one-year sabbatical and then return to the university as a tenured faculty member.