Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) search for a new president will remain suspended as an investigation gets underway,
State University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues informed school officials this week. Rodrigues said in a letter Tuesday that Julie Leftheris, inspector general for the university system’s Board of Governors, will lead the investigation into what the chancellor called “anomalies” in the search.
The chancellor last week directed FAU to put its search on hold, after the school’s Presidential Search Committee selected three finalists for the post.
Rodrigues alleged that at least one candidate had been asked questions about their sexuality and preferred pronouns. Rodrigues also said that the search committee participated in a “straw poll” in which members ranked their preferred candidates.
But the meeting, which was not open to the public, was not recorded and as a result may have violated a state law, Rodrigues said. A 2022 law shields information about presidential search candidates until finalists are selected. Information about other applicants remains shielded.
The law also allows university officials to hold presidential search meetings in private. Brad Levine, chairman of the FAU search committee, has disputed the allegation that the search process was conducted improperly and asked Rodrigues to allow the search to resume.
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But Rodrigues in his letter, which an FAU spokeswoman said was received by the school Wednesday, denied the request and said the “search process will remain suspended until the conclusion of our investigation.”
Meanwhile, the suspension of the search has fueled speculation that state Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, was in the running for the post. Fine, an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, was not included in a short list of three finalists put forward by the school last week.
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