Kennesaw State University is about to get an unpleasant surprise: Attorney General Sam Olens is the top pick to serve as the school’s next president, despite having no higher educational management experience.
This is the same Attorney General that has shown his hateful politics time and again. Olens supported Gov. Deal’s fight against Syrian refugees fleeing to Georgia. Olens attacked the right of transgender students by joining the lawsuit against the federal Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letter. Olens also defended Georgia’s ban on gay marriage, before the SCOTUS ruling legalized same-gender marriage.
Now, KSU students are outraged that they have not been meaningfully included in the process and that the top choice is a political appointee with questionable values. Students and alum are circulating a very popular online petition, which states their opposition quite simply: “Hiring Sam Olens as the new KSU President is one huge step backwards for the university.”
The petition outlines Olens’ clear, anti-LGBTQ stance as a significant concern around him serving as the next leader of the school, saying, “we worry that appointing Olens as university president will have a long-lasting, detrimental effect on the academic experience of KSU’s queer student body — and the community as a whole.’
There have also been reports of protests on the campus circulating through social media. Students were officially notified of the decision only a day before the interview with the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents is scheduled to happen.
Alumni and staff have all expressed concern as well.
The Daily Report noted that the faculty Senate sought a national search committee, because KSU is a doctoral-level research institution, and thus requires some experience and expertise to manage.
One alum even took to the KSU Facebook page, writing, “[Olens] is a bigot and a politician. Your staff has spoken out against this decision. I am an alumna joining my voice with theirs.”
Randy Evans, a mover and shaker in the Republican world and part of the very politically well-connected law firm Denton’s, would not confirm the interest in Olens earlier in the week, when reports first surfaced, but did manage to add that “you couldn’t design a much better fit.”
It’s sounding like students are going to have to fight hard to keep Sam Olens — and his bigoted politics — off their campus.