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Politicizing the FSU Presidency

May 21st, 2014 by flanews

Florida State University has been searching for a leader since February when former president Eric Barron announced he’d be taking the same job at Penn State. As Matt Galka tells us, a high profile lawmaker could be next in line.

John Thrasher is many things. He currently chairs Governor Rick Scott’s re-election campaign. He’s the former head of the Republican Party of Florida, and he’s one of the most powerful state Senator’s in the legislature.  He could be adding FSU President to that list soon.

“We can continue to try and build a pool of candidates that is deserving of this position. But my assessment is, you’re going to have a very hard time doing that,” said William Funk, the man hired to lead the president search.

The headhunters in charge of finding a new president for the university said that Thrasher’s high profile has caused a weak crop of candidates. They recommended the former House Speaker be considered for the job.

Thrasher won’t be moving into the President’s office just yet. And some faculty and students don’t think he should at all.

The state Senator received support from former politicians on the panel, but several faculty members on the committee objected to narrowing the search down to one. English professor Eric Walker said Thrasher hasn’t even submitted a resume yet.

“I don’t think he’s a very good candidate, but again, I’d like to see some documents. I think we can do better,” said Walker.

During public comments, some students took matters a step further.

“If y’all continue to go with this nomination, the students will march against John Thrasher,” said student and FSU Dream Defender Regina Joseph.

The committee voted to interview Thrasher going forward by a 15-9 vote. He’ll be the only person interviewed for now, and if he makes it through, he’ll have the job.

All students and Faculty on the search committee voted against interviewing only Thrasher first.  The school’s board of Trustees will have the final say.

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