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What happened to UB Vice President Dennis Black?

Students and faculty wonder why the long-time administrator left so mysteriously


People don’t usually disappear, especially not prominent people on a campus of 30,000 students.

But that is just what happened to Dennis Black, UB’s vice president of Student Affairs, who was practically the face of UB for students and who was one of UB’s only administrators who clearly loved the spotlight and interacting with students. If there was a prominent guest to campus, Black was usually there – and was often the one making introductions. He happily chatted and lunched with students and had amassed tremendous power, overseeing student affairs, dining, university police and was the public face of the Distinguished Series lectures from his office.

And yet, in July, Black, who had spent close to 40 years at UB, quietly vanished via a few lines in a university press release. In a brief letter, our president, Satish Tripathi, announced Black’s resignation and said it would be “effective immediately” while offering Black best wishes.

No party, no long goodbyes.

Even Black’s biography rapidly was wiped off the UB website. Tripathi has never offered a reason for Black’s departure and all Spectrum attempts to find out why he left have gone unanswered.

Black, too, did not respond to Spectrum requests for an interview.

What is going on?

Black clearly had not planned to quit. On the day before Tripathi announced Black’s resignation, Black had lunched with student orientation leaders, including a Spectrum editor, and talked about the upcoming year,

The next day – an hour before he was set to speak at the orientation – he said he was not coming.

News of his resignation came within the hour.

Black also had met with the incoming Spectrum editor in chief on the last day of spring 2016 classes and said he was looking forward to the next school year.

Students deserve to know what happened. We at The Spectrum respectfully ask our president to provide some answers.

With Black gone, Laura Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration, is filling in. That means she’s doing Black’s job and her own. Isn’t that too much? How long does Hubbard have to work two jobs? What is the plan for finding a replacement or for restructuring the system?

Black isn’t the only missing face at UB.

In the past two years, UB has seen seven new deans. It’s clear that there’s administrative change afoot. What is it? What is the aim?

UB administrators don’t generally take time to get to know students. Black was an exception. He actually interacted with us, spoke at club meetings and answered emails. Students paid $1 to tape Black to a wall in the Student Union to raise money for Relay for Life. He went out of his way to become a part of the student body.

So it’s only right we question where he is and who will take over.

We deserve answers.

The editorial board can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com


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