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FSU Faculty Senate takes stand against Thrasher

Published Sep. 10, 2014|Updated Sep. 11, 2014

Tia Mitchell, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:51pm

Florida State University's Faculty Senate, the legislative body representing the institution's roughly 2,000-member instructional force, has officially come out against state Sen. John Thrasher becoming the school's new president.

The move was not surprising given that the faculty union and individual professors have long been a critic of Thrasher's candidacy for the job. But the timing and wording of the Faculty Senate resolution makes it the most high-profile of the opposition to Thrasher to date.

Faculty members spent two hours debating the topic before voting nearly 2-to-1 approving a resolution that encouraged the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and FSU Board of Trustees not to recommend Thrasher for the job because he lacked the qualifications outlined in the job description.

The effort was led by music professor Michael Buchler, who has been among the most vocal opponents to Thrasher's candidacy.

"(Thrasher) loves FSU, but he doesn't have the qualifications to lead a major Research I university and that's all that this is about," Buchler said.

Thrasher is one of four finalists for the job but the only non-traditional candidate as a powerful politician who has never worked in higher ed He and the three others will be on campus next week for daylong interviews with students, staff, faculty and members of the community.

The Board of Trustees is expected to pick a new president on Sept. 23.

Some FSU faculty members argued against a Thrasher resolution at this point in the process, encouraging their colleagues to wait until next Friday after all the finalists had interviewed. Of the roughly 70 faculty senators in the room, none spoke in favor of Thrasher.

Earlier this year, the Faculty Senate approved a resolution saying the next FSU president should have solid academic credentials, effectively expressing disapproval of Thrasher's candidacy. This time they used his name and specifically said he should not get the job.

"This isn't a matter of how well he interviews," Buchler said. "The credentials are the credentials."

The resolution in its entirety:

"Be it resolved that we, the members of the Florida State University Faculty Senate, call upon the Presidential Search Advisory Committee not to recommend Senator Thrasher as a candidate for President of FSU. We further call upon the Board of Trustees not to hire Senator Thrasher as the next President of FSU. Senator Thrasher lacks the stated qualifications required for the position, whereas the other three finalists meet those qualifications. We encourage all faculty members to participate fully in the interview process and to submit comments."

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