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April 20, 2014

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Love him or loathe him

An outside consultant's evaluation of university system Chancellor Jim Rogers vividly illustrates the Board of Regents' conflicted relationship with its maverick chancellor.

As one respondent summarized: "Some don't like him; others would take a bullet for him."

The report, released Thursday, adds detail to what the Sun has long reported: Relations between the elected board and the appointed chancellor are reaching a boiling point, and disputes among regents over Rogers are dividing the board.

There's such division that the consultant, Carl Rowe of Clarity Advisors to Management, suggests in his eight-page report that regents need "some kind of conflict-resolution intervention."

Rowe's report summarizes comments from interviews in May with regents, university and college presidents and system administrators. Direct quotes are not attributed, giving Rogers' critics anonymity.

Those interviewed were split in their view of Rogers on almost every point. Comments ranged from "It's going to be hard to replace Jim" and "People don't appreciate how dedicated he is" to "The chancellor is a bully, who tries to take advantage of those who are weaker." Opinions of Rogers' own positive self-evaluation ranged from "very fair" and "accurate" to "falsely self-serving" and "delusional."

Almost everyone agreed that Rogers' relations with the regents are "contentious" to one degree or another, Rowe wrote. They also were split on whether Rogers' January resignation - in which he quit and five days later changed his mind - was resolved or if issues that prompted the outburst continue to fester.

Tensions between Rogers and some regents - which one respondent says are partly regents' fault - have spilled over into other system business, according to Rowe's report. The chancellor is a "hot button" for presidents and system officials in discussing internal matters with regents, one person said.

The evaluation will be discussed at next week's regents' meetings in Reno.

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