Ohio Governor Appoints Former Attorney General to Run University System

March 1, 2011

A week after the chancellor of the University System of Ohio resigned to allow the state's new Republican governor to appoint his own higher ed leader, Governor John Kasich announced the appointment of a former attorney general to the job. James Petro, who served as state auditor and attorney general in Republican administrations in Ohio and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, will replace Eric D. Fingerhut, who was the first chancellor of the statewide system established under Kasich's predecessor, former Governor Ted Strickland. Some state policy experts and Ohio college leaders have expressed concern that the system's governance structure -- in which the chancellor is selected by the governor and closely aligned with him (or her) -- would make Ohio public higher education too susceptible to political turnover and turbulence, and perhaps threaten the new system. When he ran for governor in 2005, Petro reportedly proposed creating two higher education boards, one for four-year and one for two-year colleges. But he told local reporters Monday that he supported the new structure.

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