New Presidential Candidate Was University Leader Briefly

June 25, 2015

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana on Wednesday became the latest candidate to join the race for the Republican presidential nomination. While it is unlikely he'll spend much time talking about this fact, Jindal is the only Republican in the race (or Democrat, for that matter) who has been the president of a university system -- Jindal led the University of Louisiana System from 1999 (taking office at age 28) through 2001.

His appointment was controversial with some faculty members, because he was seen as a politician more than an educator. Known for his strong anti-tax positions, Jindal, who has been governor since 2008, has overseen numerous cuts in higher education spending, and his initial proposals in this year's legislative session (modified at the last minute) would have resulted in massive cuts to public higher education. In 2011, Jindal set off a huge debate in the state when he proposed a study of merging historically black Southern University at New Orleans with the predominantly white University of New Orleans. The plan died. Additionally, scientists have regularly criticized Jindal for, in their view, promoting creationist views.

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