Editorial blasts “arrogant and shortsighted” chancellor search at Fayetteville State

New Fayetteville State chancellor Darrell Allison

If you get chance, check out today’s excellent lead editorial from the Greensboro News & Record about the embarrassingly political hiring process that the UNC system recently concluded for a new chancellor at Fayetteville State University. As Policy Watch investigative reporter Joe Killian has reported in great detail, the Board of Governors and system president Peter Hans selected a person for the job — conservative education lobbyist Darrell Allison — who wasn’t even a finalist when FSU’s Board of trustees vetted numerous applicants.

This is from today’s editorial:

To say his hiring was a shock is an understatement.

According to reports from at least two news outlets, Allison was not among the finalists for the FSU post, which attracted a national field of more than 60 applicants.

He has no administrative experience in higher education.

He has no teaching experience.

He has little apparent support among faculty and students.

He does have plenty of opposition. Students, alumni and faculty have staged protests. The FSU National Alumni Association has threatened legal action. An online petition to remove him from the job had gathered 2,500 signatures as of last week.

After explaining that Allison has professed to be unfazed by the criticism he has received, the editorial rightfully observes:

Even if Allison eventually should win friends and influence people in Fayetteville, the process used to hire him is fundamentally flawed and does not serve the best interests of the UNC System.

The “process” to which the editorial refers, of course, the Board of Governors’ recently adopted policy that, in effect, gives the system president the power to supersede the recommendations of campus trustees and select whomever he or she cares to choose. This, the editorial concludes, is absurd:

Given the heavily weighted vote it now bestows on the UNC Systems president, why even bother with a search? And why even bother to apply if you weren’t suggested by Hans?

…Politics has always threatened to poison chancellor searches, but this process (if you want to call it that) opens the toxic floodgates.

The Fayetteville students, faculty and trustees have good reason to be angry.

And the rest of the UNC campuses have good reason to be concerned.

The bottom line: The conservative majority at the General Assembly — the politicians who are ultimately behind this whole mess — has been  wreaking havoc in the UNC system for years and one can only hope that some sort of rescue can be effected before the damage becomes irreparable.

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