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Georgia Chancellor Search Slowed by Confusion, Friction

June 8, 2021
 
 

As the University System of Georgia Board of Regents reboots its search for a new chancellor, confusion and friction among board members have plagued the process, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The board paused its search in late April after members disagreed on the candidacy of former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue. The first search firm retained by the board quit amid the Perdue controversy, and the board later hired WittKieffer to conduct the search.

“Several Regents seemed to be concerned that we had not clearly articulated a job description for the Chancellor, or the Board’s expectations for a new Chancellor, and that this has led to confusion during the search process,” Regent Don Waters wrote in an April email to board members.

Waters suggested former chancellor Stephen Portch serve as an adviser to the search. Other board members opposed the idea because Portch had recommended Perdue for the chancellorship, a source familiar with the search told the Journal-Constitution. Regent Harold Reynolds, who has donated to Perdue’s campaigns, supported Waters’s idea.

“I welcome the historical context and insight into higher education, now and the future, Dr. Portch can provide,” Reynolds said in response to Waters’s email. “He should not be ‘cancelled’ as a few have suggested.”

An accreditation agency subsequently sent a letter to Sachin Shailendra, chair of the board, saying that the system could be “out of compliance” if the search process is controlled by a minority of board members.

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