Despite objections from students and faculty members, a search committee at Florida State University on Wednesday voted to make a state senator the only candidate the panel will interview for Florida State’s presidency at its next meeting, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
The committee’s vote was 15 to 9, with students and faculty members opposed, to select State Sen. John Thrasher, a Republican who is known as an ardent supporter of the university, as the lone candidate. A consultant had told the committee that Mr. Thrasher was casting a “shadow” over the search process, discouraging other candidates from applying, and recommended that the committee interview him first to determine if it really wanted him for the job.
Earlier on Wednesday, Florida State’s faculty union said in a written statement that it had “lost confidence” in the search process, asserting that the search firm had exhibited “a serious lack of regard” for faculty input. Some of Mr. Thrasher’s critics objected to a proposal he made during the legislative session to break apart a college of engineering that is shared by Florida State and Florida A&M Universities. Others said he lacked experience in higher education.
The committee’s vote came a day after Senator Thrasher received an endorsement for the job from Talbot (Sandy) D’Alemberte, a former Florida State president. The newspaper could not reach Mr. Thrasher for comment, and he did not attend the meeting on Wednesday.