One of Florida’s largest public universities could be a step closer to selecting its next president – and one of the candidates is bringing plenty of controversy and the possibility of the school losing accreditation if selected.
State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s candidacy for the presidency of Florida State University has led to questions about a potential conflict of interest, given that he is a member of the state university system’s Board of Governors which ultimately will have to approve the candidate selected by FSU.
“You have the choice of broadcasting a damaging message about FSU, by choosing finalists who are known for their connections within Florida, rather than their experience in university leadership,” said FSU music professor Nancy Rogers during Friday’s meetings. “Or, you can rise above politics and choose the well-qualified candidates that FSU deserves.”
Corcoran drew the most ire of the nine candidates being interviewed Friday and Saturday.
“Corcoran does not understand the tone or content necessary to work at, let alone lead a major research university,” Will Hanley, an Assistant Professor of History at FSU, said.
NBC affiliate WJHG-TV reports the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the body that accredits FSU, sent a letter to the school’s Board suggesting Corcoran’s role could put the university’s accreditation in jeopardy.
The Board of Governors said Corcoran, if selected, would abstain from voting on his own confirmation, dispelling any conflict of interest.
“Please do not vote for Commissioner Corcoran,” political science student Sarah Jenkins said. “It is glaringly apparent to us as students that if he is forwarded, the search is over due to closed door politics.”