The Rocket staff remains unimpressed with SRU presidential finalists

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket Staff, Date: October 12, 2017

While last week’s Council of Trustees meeting was adjourned with many questions and very few answers, one thing was clear in the eyes of The Rocket staff: SRU’s future president isn’t among the search committee’s finalists. In fact, we’re doubtful they’ve yet to step on the SRU campus.

While the Council of Trustees was a climactic segment in SRU’s search for a new president, doubt has been pooling in the minds of SRU stakeholders for a while about the search committee’s three finalists: Marsha Krotseng of Bluefield State, Bruce Murphy from Nicholls State and Amir Mohammadi, who currently serves as SRU’s VP of Finance. The three candidates, who visited SRU on Sept. 25, 27, and 29 respectively, were selected as finalists to come to campus and meet with SRU stakeholders, faculty, staff, community members and students.

While the three finalists bring different experiences and leadership styles to the table, The Rocket staff feels confident in saying that these finalists are not right for the SRU presidency. The Rocket staff is not alone in this opinion; several trustees spoke out at the council meeting against the admittedly underwhelming finalists. Overall concerns were presented regarding the candidates, but even the process was questioned, the search firm and conflicts of interest being the primary scapegoats.

Two members of the search committee work under Amir Mohammadi, and, as many members of the campus community have articulated, we feel that this conflict of interest is too notable to ignore or sweep under the rug. All hope for a semblance of objectivity is lost when the team responsible for narrowing the field of applicants contains two members of one candidate’s staff; it is irresponsible at best.

Pushing aside the logistical and ethical concerns over the search itself, we as a staff truly believe that not Krotseng, nor Murphy and Mohammadi are the right fit for SRU. None of these candidates have the personal presence required to connect with alumni and the campus community and failed to impress the staff during their student and open sessions.

The Rocket staff was surprised that these were the top contenders for the presidential vacancy, and we worry about the quality of the search firm and any future candidate it would bring forth if the university chooses to still utilize it for the extended search.

We believe that whoever is going to be SRU’s next president has yet to be seen by the SRU community. The Council of Trustees made their opinion clear when they voted not to forward the search committee’s recommendations to the board of governors. At this point, it seems very unlikely that any of the three candidates we have seen thus far will end up being SRU’s next president. The Rocket staff believes the candidates presented to the SRU community as finalists do not reflect the kind of quality that SRU should be striving for internally and as a leader in the Pa. State System.


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