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Former Ohio State president Kristina Johnson cannot criticize university under agreement

Dr. Kristina Johnson, the president of The Ohio State University.
The Ohio State University

Former Ohio State President Kristina Johnson and the university reached a mutual separation agreement before she left her post in November requiring her not to criticize her former employer.

Johnson signed the release agreement in November finalizing the end of her tenure as OSU's 16th president. As part of the agreement, Johnson will receive one year's salary worth over $900,000 and an additional one-time payment of $278,000.

The severance is paid out over 12 months, and begins 60 days after Johnson's departure date.

The agreement states Johnson could lose compensation if she makes negative remarks about the university.

Additionally, the university agreed that the Board of Trustees and board employees likewise cannot speak poorly of Johnson. If the board violates the agreement, they could be subject to lawsuits by Johnson.

Johnson's final day was in May on the same day as Spring commencement. She was president for three years from 2020 to 2023.

OSU spokesperson Ben Johnson says the university will let the agreement speak for itself. He says OSU is looking forward to welcoming a new president soon and the Board of Trustees is making good progress on the search for Johnson's successor.

The agreement remained under wraps until a successful legal challenge by The Lantern student newspaper compelled the university to release the agreement.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.