This week Kennesaw State University has been rattled by students that have been upset about Sam Olens becoming the president of the university. News first broke last week about Olens being homophobic and anti-marriage equality. Students held a rally on the Campus Green in outrage about the university's potential candidate.
However, is this the real issue? Personally, after a discussion in my public relations class, I am not sure it is. As attorney general in Georgia, Olens is in charge of upholding the laws and justice within the state. With that being said, gay marriage was not legal in Georgia so Olens was doing his job. Is Olens against LGBTQ rights? Most likely but there is no confirmation. However, Olens stated plainly that his office would uphold the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling last year.
The good news: Sam Olens did his job as attorney general. The bad news: Kennesaw State University seems to be hiding something else by moving Olens along in the process so quickly. An even bigger question to ask might be why is Olens being made the president of a university when he has no experience in education?
In normal circumstances, news outlets might be more interested in this topic. With an online protest circulating to students, the real issue of Olens' quick vote by the board has been non-existent, especially after former President Dan Papp created a small-scale scandal over the summer.
At the end of the day, the university's decision to decide on a president so quickly, without conducting a nation-wide search as planned, is unsettling. The university also did no outreach, surveys or focus groups to include faculty, staff and students in the decision. So, does the school really have the best interests of its students at heart?
Is KSU strictly in the business of making money, or educating students? Is there some "under the table" deal that is expediting the process? What other candidates have we bypassed? Can Olens actually fix the growing pains that the university faces daily? And of course, who the hell is going to fix the parking shortage?!
I encourage all students at Kennesaw State to really do their homework, though. Look through the fog that has become the homophobic stances of the candidate and evaluate what else is happening with such a fast-paced, searchless nomination of Sam Olens.