Photo by Sara Schmitt

The University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents announced earlier this month that Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) new president would be Sam Olens, Georgia’s current attorney general. Olens has no background in education and was selected by the USG allegedly without consideration of any other candidates, even though several others applied for the position.

We must ask: What was so attractive about Olens’ resume? Olens currently is serving as a defendant in a case regarding corruption at state colleges. He also has a history of lobbying against LGBT rights on behalf of the state of Georgia. Additionally, 4 of the 19 members of the Board of Regents had connections to Olens through donations made towards his attorney general campaigns, either from themselves, their families or their businesses. All these “qualifications” make his appointment look suspiciously like corruption.

It is impossible to ascertain for sure the reasoning behind the choice, but it can be said without doubt that it was the wrong one. What place does Olens have running KSU? USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby said in a statement “With Sam’s background and experience, he understands how KSU and the community can work together for … the institution.” Suffice it to say that it is very unclear how any of his experience will apply in any capacity to serving as the president of KSU, unless he plans to work toward a greater student understanding of the intricacies of law.

President Olens’s appointment is an example of the unilateral power of USG over Georgia institutions. Just think, if President Peterson made an unexpected departure, USG could pick a new President with no connection to Tech or any other kind of higher education. This is a frighteningly real possibility if the current behavior of USG continues.

The Consensus Opinion reflects the majority opinion of the Editorial Board of the Technique, but not necessarily the opinions of individual editors.

  • Author Denise Caldon Sorkness

    I am a Veteran’s Widow and Mother of a Navy Officer. After 15 years in the Office of a USG college president (I formerly worked for the Chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill), I was terminated just nine days after I submitted in writing I would no longer falsify the Leave Reports for the President to which he had demanded for three years. The fact I had verbalized my objections for those three years is confirmed in the Deposition of the college Vice President Levy Youmans which is among the documents kept sealed from public view by – you guessed it – Sam Olens, the new president of Kennesaw State University! I have been a Georgia Whistleblower since 2009 during which Sam Olens has filed five “Responses in Opposition” in Fulton County Superior Court in his attempts to keep the evidence confirming malfeasance by the Board of Regents sealed from public view. The fact the Board of Regents offer the “often hidden” 90/60 retirement package to retired USG college presidents (which misappropriates tax dollars allocated annually for education), whereby, the retired USG presidents are rehired as “consultants” or part-time faculty and paid 90% of their presidential salary for the first two years and 60%, thereafter (i.e., former USG President David Bell’s salary for 2010-2014 was $1,599,375.92 – yes, over 1.5 million!) with three of those years as a part-time professor teaching one class each semester was brought to Olens attention to which he ignored. Olens’ desire to be a USG college president is his means to follow the “money-train” as the increasing number of lawsuits confirming his cover up for the Regents are catching up with him. The Regents are more than happy to appease Olens with this new position as Olens has covered for them since his first day in office. Another discovery in my whistleblower case was the fact the Applications for Review, submitted to the Board of Regents by USG faculty, staff and students statewide, are NEVER actually read by the Board of Regents’ Organization and Law Committee as they are fraudulently made to believe. After many legal steps on my part, the Deposition of Regent Doreen Stiles Poitevint which confirms this fact is now open record – unlike the others. FACT: Sam Olens has never had the best interest of the USG faculty, staff and students. He is simply the “fox” guarding the Regents’ backs, while destroying the careers and lives of dedicated USG faculty, staff and students. I am one of many. Please take the time to read some of the investigative reports noted below. There are many more. I am willing to discuss anytime. http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/23934987/investigation-exposes-allegations-that-board-of-regents-mishandles-employee-appeals
    http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/23973296/former-employee-board-of-regents-hiding-records
    http://gwmac.com/177836-2/
    http://gwmac.com/poitevint-deposition/
    http://gwmac.com/sam-olens-tries-silence-opposition-disbarred/