Search For FSU President Takes New Twist

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For the FSU presidential search committee, State Senator John Thrasher was the elephant in the room.

The Republican lawmaker was scheduled to get the only interview to become FSU's president.

Committee members reasoned they weren't getting enough quality applicants because potential candidates were scared off by Thrasher.

Following that decision, State Representative Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricky Polston applied.

Now Thrasher's interview has been postponed.

"And I'm hoping that there's increased national interest in the position, that we can have a more traditional process moving forward," said FSU Student Body President Stefano Cavallaro.

"We're very glad it slowed the process down," said Jennifer Proffitt of the United Faculty of Florida. "The problem is, it's the same process," she said.

In a statement, search committee chair Ed Burr says "a traditional search process now appears more feasible"

He also stated his "commitment to a process that is wide open and inclusive".

But Proffit says FSU's model should be more like the University of Florida's presidential search.

"They changed their criteria to make sure that distinguished academic credentials were number one because they want to move into the top ten," she said.

"I think having a background in academics is an important aspect," Cavallaro said. "But I think the number one thing in selecting a university president is being a leader," he said.

Cavallaro has a vote as a board of trustees member.

Representative Vasilinda says the decision to open up the process is a good one.

Chief Justice Polston declined comment and Senator Thrasher did not respond to a request for comment.

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 2, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - The chairman of the FSU Presidential Search Committee, Ed Burr, says the application of the chief justice of Florida Supreme Court does not change anything at this time.

Burr says committee members is having discussions with the consultant on how to move forward.

At this time, Burr says Senator John Thrasher's interviews will go forward as planned.

The next committee meeting is June 11th.

Associated Press News Release

TALLAHASSEE (AP) -- The chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court is applying to become president of Florida State University.

Ricky Polston, who was appointed to the bench by former Gov. Charlie Crist, submitted his application for FSU's vacant post on Saturday.

Polston's move comes at a time when the frontrunner for the position is state Sen. John Thrasher. A search committee has already voted to interview Thrasher and then decide whether to offer him the job.

FSU has been without a permanent president since Eric Barron left to lead Penn State University.

Polston has two degrees from FSU. In a letter to the search committee he said he is applying for the job out of loyalty to the school and a desire to help the school continue to improve.

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