Thursday, September 25, 2014

In the Role of College President, Many Politicians Shed Their Partisanship

The Chronicle of Higher Education
September 25th, 2014

The controversy it has caused may be intense, but State Sen. John E. Thrasher’s appointment as president of Florida State University has a very familiar ring to it. Florida State’s Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday to name the Republican lawmaker as president despite the concerns of many faculty members and students, who said he was unqualified to lead the institution and who argued that his appointment smacked of partisan favoritism.
A similar scene played out earlier this year, when Glenn F. McConnell, South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, was named president of the College of Charleston, sparking concerns that his interest in Confederate memorabilia was antithetical to the college’s mission.
Another controversy arose last year, when Janet Napolitano was chosen to lead the University of California system, and some students protested the immigration policies she had enforced as secretary of homeland security. And at Purdue University, faculty members opposed the appointment of Gov. Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. as president, saying the research university needed a leader who understood academe.

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