no changes to any [current] credit-bearing courses
new, easier, credit-bearing courses be developed by our department and others
is not precisely a contradiction. Though in the context of academic integrity, it's certainly misleading to the public.
You didn't ask, but your ethical duty is first to your own behavior. So long as you're not creating/teaching courses which don't merit their credits, you'll be OK on that front. I wanted to mention this because it's simple, and it provides a good contrast for the answer to your question:
Your ethical duty with respect to the administrator's misleading public statements are a responsibility shared by the entire group of university staff. Note the distinction between something that's your personal responsibility and something that's the responsibility of a group you belong to. Because this is a group responsibility, you need to try handle this as a group. If the group disagrees with you, and you feel the lie was significant enough, your only real option may be to leave the group or leak, but that should definitely be a last resort.
Things do first:
First talk to other professors (especially tenured ones) and see how they feel about it. Maybe you missed some things and they can point those out. Or maybe everyone agrees with you and you can approach this collectively which will help avoid costing you your job.
IFF you have a good enough relationship to do it effectively (and avoid getting yourself fired), it would also be best to talk to the administrator personally. Be sympathetic to their need to portray the university in a positive light both in words to the media and in graduation rates, but share your unease with the contradiction in message. Listen to their response, try to understand their viewpoint and how they rationalized their behavior as acceptable. It sounds like the best case would be for the administrator to change the internal behavior to match what was shared with the press. Persuasion is hard, but it really is the best option.
If other professors feel you're overreacting, but have no new information or can't convince you things are fine, and if you can't reach an understanding with the administrator in private, then you have to decide whether this is ethically compelling enough to require yourself to risk your career. There's no hard and fast answer for that. You have to weigh your ability to be successful against your need to not associate with people who aren't flawlessly honest/upright.
If you do decide you must risk your job, I would recommend roughly this order of operations:
- Internally (but public to other professors), point out the contradiction as kindly as possible and ask the administrator for a solution. Don't threaten to leak or quit yet. Explain you want to understand and keep things internal.
- If your concerns are dismissed, either resign quietly or leak the memo AND all internal communications about it to journalists you believe will be able to present the story well. And expect to be fired.
It's hard to predict what effect this may have on future employers, as that will mostly depend on the fallout and how well you're able to convince future employers both that it was the right choice and that nothing they do is likely to require you to do it again. Try to be as complete and fair to the other side as possible as that will help somewhat. Remember that the goal here isn't to expose a liar or shame the university, but to promote academic quality and accountability.
It sounds like a tough position to be in. Good luck.