FSU faculty union wants presidential search to start over

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, pronounces a verdict during his role as rules chairman during a legislative session in Tallahassee in this May 2, 2014 file photo. The FSU presidential search committee voted to pause its process last month and interview only Thrasher for the position.

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 4:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 4:46 p.m.

The faculty union at Florida State University wants the search for a new university president to start over, with additional emphasis placed on applicants having "strong academic credentials."

The FSU chapter of the United Faculty of Florida issued a release Tuesday that called the manner in which the search has been conducted so far "inappropriate and highly unusual," and said the process "appears to be tainted by political maneuvering."

The union also wants more student and faculty representation on the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The 27-member committee includes two undergraduates, a graduate assistant, and four faculty members.

The union's request came a day after the abrupt resignation of William "Bill" Funk, a Dallas-based consultant brought in to help find FSU a new president. The committee is also set to reopen the application process Wednesday.

The university has been looking for a permanent president since February, when Eric Barron stunned the campus community by announcing he would take the same position at Penn State University.

FSU Provost Garnett Stokes has been serving as interim president.

The search committee on May 21 voted 15-9 to follow a recommendation by Funk to pause the process in order to interview only well-connected Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, for the position.

Funk told the committee that Thrasher's desire for the job was keeping other potential candidates from applying.

However, search committee Chairman Ed Burr reversed course last week. State Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston asked to be considered for the position after Thrasher was asked to interview.

Last Wednesday, the Faculty Senate issued a vote of no confidence in the search process.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top