Kevin Guskiewicz, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is widely expected to be hired as president of Michigan State University today, filling a vacancy opened when Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr. announced his resignation last fall amid a clash with trustees.
A Michigan State Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. today, and the trustees are expected to announce the selection of Guskiewicz as the next president.
If hired, Guskiewicz will step into a presidential post that has been a revolving door in recent years as the university has struggled with executive instability since an explosive scandal, which led to MSU doctor Larry Nassar being criminally convicted of sex abuse under the guise of medical treatment. The case forced the resignation of then president Lou Anna K. Simon in 2018.
Guskiewicz would also be working for a board fraught with dysfunction and infighting, as demonstrated in recent meetings, where trustees have frequently clashed. He has reportedly said that he will only take the post if the board pledges not to “interfere” with the job. MSU’s last president, Dr. Stanley, had accused trustees of micromanaging his leadership, and Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer recently criticized the university for a lack of unified leadership and the absence of accountability.
Guskiewicz has experience working with controversial boards, given his four years at UNC. In his time at Chapel Hill, the university has navigated a number of board-inflicted scandals, including a controversial back-and-forth over offering tenure to journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, causing her to reject the job offer, and efforts to fast-track a conservative campus center.