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Harold Washington College president fired

An investigation found Ignacio Lopez had violated the college’s residency requirement.

Exterior of Harold Washington College in Chicago
Ignacio Lopez was fired as president of Harold Washington College for violating the City Colleges’ residency requirement.

The president of Harold Washington College has been fired for violating the City Colleges of Chicago residency requirement.

“Dr. [Ignacio] Lopez informed me that he earnestly believed purchasing a residence in Chicago and spending a portion of his time at such residence meant he was in compliance with the District’s residency requirement,” Chancellor Juan Salgado wrote in an email to students, faculty and staff. “Dr. Lopez understands and accepts that such actions were not sufficient to maintain compliance with the requirement.”

Administrators decided to fire Lopez after an investigation by the City Colleges’ inspector general, a spokeswoman said Friday. The inspector general’s report wasn’t immediately available.

Ignacio Lopez, former president of Harold Washington College
Ignacio Lopez

A copy of City Colleges’ residency requirement provided to the Chicago Sun-Times states employees must be residents of Chicago but doesn’t specify how much time an employee must spend in his or her residence.

In a follow-up letter to Harold Washington students, Lopez made no specific mention of the violation.

“Please know how incredibly difficult this is for me and how much I am saddened to leave you,” he wrote. “I appreciate your understanding and prayers.”

Lopez was appointed interim president in September 2017, a position that became permanent in June 2018, according to Lopez’s LinkedIn page.

Lopez did not respond to an email from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Peggy Korellis, associate vice chancellor-early college, has been appointed to take over Lopez’s position on an interim basis, Salgado wrote.