The New School Free Press has the transcript of the Wednesday night speech in which Bob Kerrey told the New School Board of Trustees that he wouldn’t be seeking a contract extension. As I was reading it over just now, a passage from near the end leaped out at me:

“My term as President will end no later than July 1, 2011.”

No later than. Huh.

Like lots of other people, I reported yesterday that Kerrey had announced he would be leaving the New School at the end of his current contract — but that’s not actually what he said. He said he would be leaving by then, and he was careful to leave the door open for an earlier departure.

Now, to be fair, he did say earlier in the speech that he had “confidence I can continue to lead this university through June 30, 2011 when my current contract ends.” And he has said in the past that if he ever lost the support of the New School’s trustees, he’d resign. But still.

Look what else he said, near the top of the speech: “To understate the case, this has been a challenging semester for the university and my family. There have been moments when I reached the limit of my willingness to continue serving as your president.”

It’s been clear for a long time that Kerrey has been ambivalent about continuing on as president of the New School. It doesn’t look to me like he’s completely put that ambivalence behind him, even now.