After a sham selection process which lasted close to seven months, the Florida State University Board of Trustee has named Sen. John Thrasher to be the school’s new president. The Board overwhelmingly gave Thrasher the nod in a 11-2 vote.
“I am honored to have been selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as Florida State University’s next president,” Thrasher, said in a statement. “I look forward to leading the university to even higher levels of excellence. My goal is to advance the faculty and the research, service and teaching mission of this university. I want Florida State to be the best place for students to receive an education, so they can realize their dreams.”
Thrasher, 70, who has no education credentials, was selected over three academics with significant leadership experience at other universities. He is a former House speaker and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
FSU board chairman Allen Bense, a former House speaker who worked alongside Thrasher, said: “I think Florida State will be in good hands. I think we have a good leader. Everything that John Thrasher has taken on he’s been successful at.”
However, opponents of Thrasher protested the vote and students chanted, “FSU is not for sale,” according to news reports. Critics also decried Thrasher’s close connections to many of FSU’s trustees, many appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.
The Times-Union reports that Thrasher had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of students and faculty last week at an open forum, according to Business Insider. Of the close to 700 responses collected after the talk, 11% gave Thrasher ‘good’ grades, while 87% gave him ‘not good’ or ‘below average’ marks.”
Thrasher’s selection must now be ratified by the Board of Governors in November.
Currently running for re-election of his Senate seat (6th District), Thrasher has said, he won’t end his campaign until the vote of the Board of Governors is taken. However, he is expected to step down from managing Scott’s campaign for re-election Wednesday, according to news reports.
Thrasher’s pay packet is expected to be well over $400,000 a year. And besides, he will likely make hundreds of thousands more in bonuses.
According to the Tampa Tribune, FSU’s previous president made more than $400,000 annually, and also earned bonuses worth another $556,000 in the last three years.