You know it’s trouble when you get removed from a volunteer position.

According to an article by Sam Hemingway in the Burlington Free Press:

In early 2010, Pauline Manning found a set of personal letters in a briefcase belonging to her husband, Michael Schultz, who is the University of Vermont’s associate vice president for development and alumni affairs.

The letters, she realized, were written by Rachel Kahn-Fogel, wife of UVM President Daniel Fogel. The discovery triggered not only the dissolution of Schultz and Manning’s marriage but also a sequence of events that has led to a board of trustees review of whether any elements of the relationship between Kahn-Fogel and Schultz violated university rules. The trustees also have ordered that Kahn-Fogel be removed from her volunteer role in planning development events for UVM.

Letters, in 2010?

Realistically it’s highly unlikely anything at UVM was compromised as a result of the relationship between Kahn-Fogel and Schultz. However sordid and unpleasant all of this was, and will be, for President Fogel, both people involved were primarily interested in raising money for the university. That’s what the person who works in development does; that’s also one of the primary responsibilities of the spouse of a college president.

Schultz, incidentally, wrote his doctoral dissertation on the role of spouses of college administrators. According to a piece he wrote a year ago for Inside Higher Ed based on that dissertation:

Fund-raising is an integral and time-consuming part of every president’s job. While the president works closely with the development office in garnering private support, another person often plays a significant role in the success of a university’s development efforts. “Hired” along with the CEO, the individual serves a major function, but frequently has no job description and often works without a contract or remuneration. This is the spouse of the president.

That’s awkward. “A good reputation is hard to earn but easy to lose,” he also wrote of the spouse.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer