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Va. Community College System Board Pressured by Governor

July 1, 2022

The board of the Virginia Community College System agreed Wednesday to add a representative of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s administration to the search committee for a new chancellor. The move came after Youngkin told board members to include his administration in the search process or resign, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Youngkin has been pushing to be involved in the search for several months.

“If for any reason you feel like you cannot commit to this mission, I will accept your resignation by June 30 with gratitude for your service,” Youngkin wrote in a letter to the State Board for Community Colleges two weeks ago.

“We are committed to working with the governor and his team on the search for the new chancellor who will lead Virginia’s community colleges in the coming years, and we will work to ensure that our programs remain affordable to all Virginians,” Douglas Garcia, incoming chair of the board and head of the search committee, said in a statement.

Democratic state policy makers have accused Youngkin of unnecessarily meddling in the community college system and flouting traditional governance practices in the state.

Meanwhile, the search process thus far has been fraught. Candidate Anne Holton, interim president at George Mason University and a former Virginia first lady and secretary of education, removed her name from consideration, according to the Times-Dispatch. Youngkin then asked the board to restart the hiring process, but the board continued its search and chose Russell A. Kavalhuna, the president of Henry Ford College in Michigan, as the new chancellor two weeks later. However, Kavalhuna ultimately chose not to take the job for undisclosed reasons last month.

The current chancellor, Glenn DuBois, is retiring this week.

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Sara Weissman

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