UNC chancellor could be the frontrunner for Michigan State University president ⋆

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz could be leaving the school, which has been marked with several controversies in recent years, to take on the presidency at Michigan State University, which has contended with several firestorms of its own.

MSU’s student newspaper, The State News, reported Wednesday that after University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy dropped out of MSU’s presidential search process, Guskiewicz is the sole remaining candidate.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz speaks at a press conference in the wake of an on-campus shooting earlier this year. | Screenshot

Michigan State University communications did not respond to a request for confirmation on the current candidates being considered. 

MSU has cycled through several presidents in recent years since the sentencings of former Olympic Gymnastics and university doctor Larry Nassar for crimes dealing with possessing child pornography and sexual assault. 

Almost all of those at MSU’s helm who left since 2018 have departed under controversy, starting with former President Lou Anna K. Simon, who was charged in the attorney general’s investigation into who at the university knew about Nassar’s serial sexual abuse for the decades he was a doctor there. Simon’s charges were eventually dismissed.

Simon was succeeded by interim President John Engler, a GOP former governor, who resigned in January 2019 after repeatedly tangling with Nassar survivors. He was succeeded by acting President Satish Udpa.

In May 2019, MSU tapped Dr. Samuel Stanley for the permanent position. Stanley, who had been president of Stony Brook University in New York, stepped down in October 2022, citing a loss of confidence in the university’s board of trustees after clashing with members about the investigation and ousting of Sanjay Gupta, dean of the Broad College of Business, following concerns of Gupta’s adherence to the University’s mandatory reporting policy.

Stanley was succeeded by interim President Teresa Woodruff, who bowed out of contention for the permanent job.

The university’s hiring process has come under fire for its lack of transparency.

Since Guskiewicz was appointed to his position as UNC-CH chancellor, in 2019, the school has seen several controversies including its failure to hire Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of “The 1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones in 2021, having faced pressure by conservative stakeholders over the possibility of bringing her on board.

Clayton Henkel, NC Newsline

It was actually Guskiewicz who approved a settlement, bypassing the conservative-led UNC Board of Governors appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly’s GOP majority, to prevent Hannah-Jones from taking legal action against the university. 

With the recent firing of Michigan State’s head football coach Mel Tucker after a sexual violence advocate said he sexually harassed her over the phone, questions about MSU security following the Feb. 13 mass shooting and the university’s continued non-compliance with the attorney general’s investigation into Nassar’s abuse, Guskiewicz could be taking on a whole new set of issues.

NC Newsline reporters Rob Schofield and Joe Killian contributed to this story.

authored by Anna Liz Nichols
First published at https%3A%2F%2Fmichiganadvance.com%2F2023%2F11%2F16%2Func-chancellor-could-be-the-frontrunner-for-michigan-state-university-president%2F

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