As if Al Yates’ decision to step down as CSU’s president wasn’t bad enough news for the CSU community, we now have a heated controversy surrounding Gov. Bill Owens’ top choice for his replacement: a right-wing Republican economist and fundraiser named Marc Holtzman.
Regardless of whether Owens’ technology secretary gets the position or not, the ensuing controversy has already tainted the presidential selection process and would likely hurt CSU in the long term.
The worst part of Owens’ endorsement is that Holtzman is not qualified enough to run CSU. The job listing for CSU president, listed in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a national newsmagazine, says the following:
“Leading candidates … should have substantial leadership experience in large organizations and familiarity with higher education, as well as a proven ability to work effectively with a variety of constituencies. A strong record of academic and intellectual attainment, significant experience developing and maintaining capital construction and operating budgets, and an appreciation and understanding of academic faculty and academic programs are highly desirable.”
Holtzman embodies none of these “desired” qualifications.
He has operated budgets, yes, but for a conglomeration of banks in Eastern Europe. How is he to know the needs of CSU’s students and faculty? How would he know where to prioritize, where to cut and where to add money?
How are we to be sure he has the students’ and faculty’s best interests in mind when planning a budget? His background is one where the bottom line is important; at CSU, education is the bottom line.
To boot, Holtzman merely has a bachelor’s degree in economics. This falls far short of the desired educational “attainment.” This is more important than it may sound. Having a doctorate – or even a master’s! – gives the university legitimacy; with legitimacy comes funding and more students. Holtzman’s lack of academic achievement will make us look pathetic. It is borderline insulting that CSU should accept him as a candidate.
This man is not qualified to run CSU.
The fiasco has already hurt the university and his getting the job will hurt it even more. If Holtzman gets the job, and if it is determined that his was a politically charged hiring, CSU could loose its accreditation.
Among other things, this would cheapen the quality of our degrees, which means ex-students might have a harder time finding a job.
Well-respected, tenured faculty might leave for greener pastures because the school is not accredited. The quality of education would therefore decline.
With the school in turmoil, alumni might donate less money and fewer organizations might decide to support our university with grant and research money.
Those are just a few things that could happen if Marc Holtzman becomes president.
But forget about that. Even if he doesn’t get the job, the damage to CSU has been done.
The number of quality applicants for president has probably declined because some candidates might not apply, thinking Holtzman is a shoo-in.
If he does get the job, he won’t have a mandate, because people will think he was voted in simply because he was the governor’s buddy. If he doesn’t win, then the person who does might not have a mandate either, because he or she will be thought to have won merely so the Board of Governors of CSU can save face.
No matter what happens, we won’t know who the best candidate is because the process has been tainted.
Holtzman should do the honorable thing: take his name out of consideration, if he cares about what is best for CSU.
Holtzman would probably be unwelcome here by a vast portion of the CSU community, if not for his lack of his experience then for the contaminated process that brought him here.