There's been a great deal of speculation over possible reasons why Arvind Gupta resigned as UBC's president.
Gupta and UBC have each pointed to a fairly bare-bones news release to explain his decision. It's left many thinking that there's much more to the story than this.
Looking at Gupta's one-year tenure from an administrative perspective, one of the most significant things that occurred was last September's departure of Pierre Ouillet.
The former Best Buy International vice president held the lofty title of UBC vice president finance, resources and operations.
As a result of centralization of authority under his office, Ouillet was an enormously powerful presence after being hired to a five-year term in 2009. In 2013, then-president Stephen Toope announced that the board had reappointed Ouillet for another five-year term starting January 1, 2014.
"In approving his reappointment, the Board acknowledged that Mr. Ouillet has been an innovative member of the University leadership, and has done much to implement Place and Promise: the UBC Plan, and to enhance the financial and operational practices at UBC," Toope said in a statement.
Toope also called Ouillet "one of the most influential financial leaders in Canada in higher education".
This announcement from Toope came seven months after he had announced his own resignation, effective June 2014, three years into his second five-year term as president.
A month after Ouillet's announced departure from UBC last September, he was named vice chancellor and chief financial officer at the UC San Diego.
I don't know if Ouillet was among those applied to become president after Toope announced his resignation. Nor do I know if UBC's board of directors gave Ouillet his walking papers at Gupta's urging or if Ouillet simply lined up another job after his contract was renewed.
Regardless, Ouillet's departure marked a huge change in the upper administrative structure of the university. He would have played a key role in keeping the UBC board informed about the financial situation.
From the contract renewal, it appears that Ouillet was valued by a majority on the board.
He may not have been nearly as popular with members of the UBC Senates at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, which oversee academic governance.
That's because Ouillet would have been the administrator who wielded the financial levers over university departments. This wouldn't have won him any popularity contests on either campus.
In recent years, the B.C. government has not been very generous to UBC. The province chopped funding by $16.6 million in 2014-15, which didn't make things any easier in Gupta's subsequent dealings with various departments.
The chair of UBC's board, John Montalbano, and UBC officials have made it clear that Gupta quit.
However, it's not unreasonable to wonder if the seeds of Gupta's early departure, just one year into his five-year term, were sown with the departure of UBC's vice president of finance, resources and operations.