Sonoma State President Steps Down After Divestment Controversy

Sonoma State University President Mike Lee announced his retirement Thursday, one day after he was placed on leave for “insubordination.”

Lee came under fire after announcing an agreement with pro-Palestinian protesters, which had not gone through proper channels. As part of that agreement, Lee promised the creation of an Advisory Council made up of Students for Justice in Palestine to review SSU Foundation investments. The advisory council, he said, would “meet with proper officials to determine a course of action leading to divestment strategies” — referring to divestment from Israeli companies. He also said he would boycott Israeli universities.

The condemnation was swift, coming from CSU officials, Jewish students, and even state lawmakers.

“His endorsement of an academic boycott was totally unacceptable and evidence that former President Lee is unfit to lead one of our great state institutions,” stated Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who co-chair the Jewish Caucus.

Reacting to the news of Lee’s departure, CSU Chancellor Mildred García thanked Lee for his service and wished him well.

Read more about his retirement announcement here.