John Thrasher is not the only reason why there is a dearth of application for FSU prez

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As I watch in amazement the presidential search unfolding at Florida State University, I have some thoughts-at-large I would like to share.

John Thrasher isn’t the only reason there is a dearth of applications — there are many others.

With Florida’s current Sunshine Laws governing this process, experts will tell you that presidents and other administrators at top tier universities will only put their name in the hat in such a public process if they are virtually or actually guaranteed the job.

There is a national lack of interest by academics seeking presidencies .

And how about all of the negative press FSU has received regarding its highly celebrated football team? Anyone want to clean up that mess?

What about FSU being listed (the only university in Florida on the list) as one of the 55 schools being looked at for Title IX compliance?

Additionally, according to a 2012 national survey by the American Council on Education, 20 percent of college presidents in the United States now come from fields outside academia.

And there’s that concern about future state funding and tuition increase options in our state all the while working those out with a tough, hands-on Legislature.

By-the-way, FSU still needs to raise an additional 500 billion dollars (that’s a 5 with 11 “0’s added at the end!) in the near term for its capital campaign!

And what about the high school like behavior of the faculty union?   They sent this out a few days ago (entire email posted below):

Dear Colleagues:

Here is some information to post on an anonymous web site, to use in creating a YouTube video, or for any other reason. (I dug up some of this; most was provided by two wonderful anonymous sources who have worked in and around the Capitol.) I think especially since John Thrasher has said that he will wait until his interview to provide a CV, we should organize an effort to write a CV for him and spread it around. Happy reading! I’ll see most of you tomorrow.”

Come on, grow up!  No wonder people are hesitating to apply. If they’ve ever been on the other side of a union issue, it seems there is a good chance there will be an attempt to humiliate and ridicule them during the application process.

It was beginning to be my belief that nasty, petty, rude and combative campaigns were the monopoly of politics.  Well, they seem to be alive and well in the Academy!

Go ahead and want someone other than John Thrasher, but do it on the high road.  No one can argue with all the good he has done for FSU as the Chairman of its Board of Trustees and in his work on their behalf in the Legislature. Why insult him?

If you can’t treat your friends a little nicer during this search, good luck on your journey to national prominence!

———

John Thrasher has repeatedly voted for hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to the state’s higher education budget.

Meanwhile, Thrasher also supported massive tax breaks for businesses, even those based out of state.

John Thrasher has twice opposed tenure at the K-12 level (the first time, it was vetoed by Gov. Crist; the second time, it was approved by Gov. Scott)

John Thrasher has come under fire for ethical issues multiple times.

To his credit, he (now-ironically) challenged the ethics of going from the legislature to academic administration.

FSU is already under fire nationally for taking money from the Koch Brothers in exchange for hiring their preferred economics professors. How would it look to have a President who has accepted thousands in contributions from Koch Industries? This hilarious Dan Ruth column gives the basic rundown on the Koch/FSU connection. Here’s some hard data:

  • 2012 Q1 01/09/2012 500.00 KOCH INDUSTRIES, INC. 4111 E 37TH ST N WICHITA, KS 97220 MANAGEMENT CO CHE
  • 2012 G3 10/11/2012 500.00 KOCH INDUSTRIES, INC. 4111 E 37TH ST N WICHITA, KS 97220 MANAGEMENT CO CHE
  • 2014 Q1 02/08/2014 1,000.00 KOCH INDUSTRIES, INC 4111 E 37TH ST N WICHITA, KS 67220 MANUFACTURING CO CHE

Thrasher’s leadership style was criticized while he was House Speaker. These quotes suggest that Thrasher doesn’t have temperament to be a university president.

  • ”I’m a little fearful of his temper,”said then-State Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
  • “John Thrasher of Orange Park bestrides the Florida House of Representatives like a Southern-accented Caesar.” “Thrasher seems impatient with the deliberative, compromising nature of the legislative process.” (see attached)
  • Rep. Stacy Ritter, D-Coral Springs, likened the House leadership to imperial Russia “and we’re all serfs.” She dubbed Thrasher “Czar Ivan,” and sharply criticized his “one-sided agenda,” (see attached)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.