Sonny Perdue Is Sole Finalist to Lead Georgia’s Public Universities

Georgia’s public college system mentioned on Tuesday that former Gov. Sonny Perdue was its sole finalist to change into chancellor, a alternative that has outraged some professors and led a regional company to threaten the accreditation of the 26-school system.

The possible appointment of Mr. Perdue, a Republican, comes throughout a unstable time in Georgia politics, with the State Legislature contemplating several bills that might ban, or restrict, how race and activism are taught within the classroom.

“A chancellor’s job is to defend the system in opposition to such payments,” mentioned Matthew Boedy, a rhetoric and composition professor on the College of North Georgia and the president of the Georgia convention of the American Affiliation of College Professors. “I can’t think about Sonny Perdue doing that.”

The affiliation has publicly condemned how the university system selected Mr. Perdue, a course of that largely occurred in conferences with out college enter and closed to the general public.

Mr. Perdue served two phrases as governor from 2003 to 2011, and later grew to become Secretary of Agriculture below President Donald J. Trump. He wouldn’t be the primary governor to maneuver into academia: Former Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, a Democrat, later ran the College of California system, and former Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana has led Purdue College since 2012.

“Governor Perdue stood out for his spectacular expertise and management in public service in addition to an enormous understanding not solely of Georgia and its communities however of the problems dealing with the college system as we transfer ahead,” Harold Reynolds, the chair of the Board of Regents, said in a statement on Monday.

Mr. Perdue, a graduate of the College of Georgia, mentioned he thought of the chance to guide the college system, which has greater than 340,000 college students, because the capstone to a profession of public service.

“Increased training is the place I wished to have an actual affect as governor, solely to be stymied by twin recessions,” he mentioned within the board-issued assertion.

In April, earlier than the Board of Regents chosen Mr. Perdue, the Southern Affiliation of Faculties and Faculties Fee on Faculties sent it a warning letter stating that the appointment of a former governor might “place the accreditation of the establishment(s) they govern in jeopardy.”

If a school loses accreditation, warned the company’s president, Belle S. Wheelan, it might trigger enrollment declines, result in unhealthy publicity and revoke the varsity’s entry to federal cash.

Revoking accreditation to varsities together with the College of Georgia, Fort Valley State and Georgia Southern could be a monumental step. However the menace is a part of the newest controversy for the Board of Regents, which in October approved a new policy the place universities can fireplace tenured professors with little to no college enter.

The coverage, based on the American Affiliation of College Professors, is the one one among its form within the nation.

That call and the number of Mr. Perdue are each intrusions on educational freedom, Mr. Boedy, the College of North Georgia professor, mentioned. It’s “one other demise, wound, stab within the coronary heart for anyone that works within the college system to have somebody like this,” he mentioned.

Mr. Perdue’s appointment as chancellor would additionally restrict his contributions to the marketing campaign of David Perdue, his cousin and a former senator who’s operating in opposition to Gov. Brian Kemp in Might’s Republican main.

Mr. Kemp had received Mr. Trump’s endorsement in 2018, however their relationship deteriorated following the Kemp administration’s refusal to undermine Georgia’s presidential election leads to 2020.

Sonny Perdue had campaigned on his cousin’s behalf throughout David Perdue’s 2020 re-election marketing campaign, which he narrowly misplaced to Senator Jon Ossoff.

Stephanie Saul contributed reporting. Sonny Perdue Is Sole Finalist to Lead Georgia’s Public Universities

Fry Electronics Team

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