The president of Florida Atlantic University has resigned amid a series of controversies that have rocked the school in recent months.
Mary Jane Saunders said in a resignation letter posted on the FAU website Wednesday that "fiercely negative media coverage" forced her to decide to step down for the university's benefit. Saunders led the Boca Raton school for three years.
"There is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the university community," Saunders said in the letter.
The problems included protests over a $6 million plan to allow a for-profit prison company, Geo Group, the naming rights at the FAU football stadium. Geo Group withdrew its offer last month.
During one student protest over the stadium naming rights, a new round of criticism was aimed at Saunders after her car grazed one of the students.
Others issues were an instructor's lesson in which students were told to stomp on papers containing the word "Jesus" and a professor's suggestions that the Newtown school killings and Boston Marathon bombings were hoaxes.
Trustees hope to hire a new president by the fall. The acting president will be Dennis Crudele, who has been FAU's senior vice president for finance and administration.
The board of trustees chairman, Anthony K.G. Barbar, said Saunders had shown "a genuine love for the university" and that her resignation was accepted reluctantly. He said Saunders will now work on a project researching the feasibility of developing a physician's assistant program at the university.
"She has been fully committed morning, day and night to the betterment of FAU," Barbar said.