Dr. Larry Nielsen, the provost at N.C. State, has resigned amid questions about his role in the hiring of former first lady Mary Easley.
A news release from the university says he is stepping down effective May 22.
"I have chosen to resign because of the intense public attention and criticism from my hiring of Mrs. Mary Easley and now because of questions surrounding the way I was hired as provost," Nielsen said in a letter to the NCSU community.
A report in Sunday's News & Observer showed that Nielsen hired Mary Easley in May 2005 while he was interim provost – and was about to be replaced. A public search process involving four other candidates began on the same day that Mary Easley faxed her resume to Nielsen. Nielsen waived a job search, created a new position and hired Mary Easley for it two weeks later.
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Nielsen has said the idea and the decision was his alone, but people involved in that search and university life say a temporary provost would not create a new position and fund it without consulting others.
Nielsen has refused all requests for interviews since March 31.
Last summer, Nielsen awarded Mary Easley a five-year $850,000 contract that touched off months of controversy.
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