ADELPHI, Md. (WJZ)– Less than a month after being placed on leave, the president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC) suddenly and mysteriously announces she’s stepping down. And now, the university system is refusing to comment on her abrupt departure.

Jessica Kartalija has the story.

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Considered a national leader in online higher education, since 2006 Susan Aldridge has been president at UMUC.

Now, one month after the school revealed she was placed on leave, University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan refuses to answer questions about the abrupt change at the top and will only confirm Aldridge is stepping down.

“She said she felt it is in her best interest and the best interest of the university to pass the baton to someone else,” he said.

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UMUC employs 2,000 faculty members in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In a statement released Thursday, Aldridge says:”Given all that we have accomplished over the past six years, I think this is a good time to step down. UMUC has flourished academically and its students have benefitted.”

But the mystery surrounding her sudden departure grows. Board members refuse to comment. The chancellor will only say he respects her decision.

Kartalija: “Had she not decided to step down, would the University have asked her to resign?”
Kirwan: “I am not going to get into any personnel questions.”

UMUC claims to be the world’s fastest-growing virtual campus. Open records show Aldridge made around $300,000 a year.

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Kirwan has named Javier Miyares interim president. Miyares has been serving as the school’s senior vice president for exactly one month.