Joseph E. Steinmetz stepped down as chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville suddenly on Friday. He gave no reason for his sudden departure except to say in a statement, “I still strongly believe in the mission of higher education, yet given the many challenges found trying to manage a university in today’s polarized society, I need to do what’s best for my family and I feel ready to make way for others.”

KNWA News reported that the resignation came after it asked the university to explain an online account containing provocative photos, appearing to show the University of Arkansas chancellor.

Mark Rushing, a spokesman for the university, denied the photos are of Steinmetz. Rushing called the photos “an obvious attack” and “a hoax.”

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