Controversial Pick Close to Kennesaw Presidency

October 5, 2016

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens moved a step closer to the presidency at Kennesaw State University Tuesday when a Board of Regents committee recommended him for the role despite stiff student and faculty opposition.

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is now scheduled to vote on making Olens the next Kennesaw State president at an Oct. 12 meeting. The selection is controversial because of both the process and person involved.

Olens has been criticized for antigay stances during his career, including his defending of Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage as attorney general. His office also represented the state and joined a lawsuit seeking to block the U.S. Department of Education from ordering colleges and universities to provide bathroom facilities consistent with transgender students' gender identities. In addition, critics have taken aim at Olens's lack of higher education experience and a presidential search process that was not national.

A Republican, Olens was first elected attorney general in 2010, then won re-election in 2014. He was formerly the chairman of the County Board of Commissioners and a commissioner in Cobb County, where Kennesaw State is located.

"If I’m fortunate enough to be selected by the Board of Regents, I will do everything I can to earn the trust and support of KSU’s faculty, staff and students," Olens said in a statement.​

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