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Affair with president's wife roils Vermont university

A month after Daniel Fogel resigned as president of the University of Vermont, a top school fundraiser has also left amid an investigation into his affair with Fogel's wife.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

A month after Daniel Fogel resigned as president of the University of Vermont, a top school fundraiser has also left amid an investigation into his affair with Fogel's wife.

Michael Schultz, an associate vice president for development, accepted a severance package and departed on Wednesday, a university spokesman said on Thursday.

The school's board of trustees conducted a review of the relationship between Schultz and Rachel Kahn-Fogel, the president's wife and a volunteer in the fundraising office. The review was also broadened to investigate any influence the Fogels, as a couple, might have had in the fundraising office, the reported.

Schultz, who earned a doctorate after writing a dissertation on the proper role of a university president's spouse, had received numerous highly personal communications from Kahn-Fogel over several years, according to the review.

The affair was discovered by Schultz's wife, Pauline Manning, who found intimate correspondence from Kahn-Fogel to Schultz, reported. Manning and Schultz are in the midst of divorce proceedings.

'Inappropriate and imprudent' contact
Kahn-Fogel's conduct was "clearly inappropriate and imprudent" but did not violate state laws or school policies, according to a copy of the review released on Wednesday. The board found the situation ran against the "guidlines and values" of the university, according to the .

"I want to express my regret that this situation was allowed to continue for as long as it did," said Trustee Chairman Robert Cioffi.

The review also found no wrongdoing in Schultz earning his doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies with the university-approved dissertation "Elucidating the Role of the University CEO's Spouse in Development, Alumni Relations, and Fundraising."

Fogel, whose contract ran through June 2012, resigned from the university last month citing "deeply personal reasons" and saying he needed to devote more time to take care of his wife and himself. He was awarded a 17-month paid leave of absence by the university.

The review concluded that the ill-defined role of the university's president's wife as a volunteer in the fundraising office "caused confusion as to the scope of Mrs. Kahn-Fogel's authority and discretion," the trustees report said.

According to the report, staffing decisions in the office were made based on the preferences of the Fogels rather than on merit, the Chronicle reported.

"This environment negatively affected morale in the development office and created ongoing distractions from the pursuit of the fund-raising objectives of the university," the report said, according to the Chronicle .

Rob Cioffi, chair of the University of Vermont Board of Trustees, left, reads a statement addressing the Kahn-Fogel/Schulz matter as well as the issue of former president Dan Fogel's executive compensation after meeting in executive session in Burlington Vt. on Wednesday, Aug. 10 2011. After a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss the case, officials announced that former Vice President Michael Schultz had resigned his position, effective immediately. The board launched the investigation earlier this year after it was discovered that Rachel Kahn-Fogel, the wife of former President Dan Fogel, sent romantic letters and emails to Schultz. (AP Photo/The Burlington Free Press, Glenn Russell)Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

Fogel, in a statement, said the review of his wife's conduct represented "an important step toward ensuring that future problems are precluded or that they are at very least minimized."

When he resigned, Fogel said his wife had been treated for mental illness in the past, according to the Chronicle.

A controversial sumControversy surrounding the $410,000 pay package given to Fogel has reached from the university all the way to the highest levels of Vermont's state government.

Gov. Peter Shumlin called Fogel and advised him on how to repair his image, reported the Burlington Free Press.

"I told him his legacy is going to be defined by this exorbitant pay package," Shumlin told the Free Press. "My call did not have much impact."

Shumlin suggested that Fogel take some of the payout and create a scholarship fund in his name, in order to minimize criticism from Vermont citizens.