Oversight group isn’t reviewing Georgia regents’ choice of Sonny Perdue

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

The accrediting body for Georgia’s public university system says it currently has no plans to look into the potential appointment of former Gov. Sonny Perdue as the system’s chancellor, a blow for critics hoping to derail the selection.

The Decatur-based Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges said in an email Tuesday that it will not contact the state’s Board of Regents about its chancellor search process.

The email was a reply to Matt Boedy, Georgia conference president of the American Association of University Professors. He doesn’t believe Perdue is qualified for the job because he lacks higher education administrative experience.

“Our Standards do not identify specific qualifications for the CEO,” the association’s president, Belle Wheelan, said in reference to the person leading a university or system of schools.

The Georgia Board of Regents voted Tuesday without opposition to make Perdue the sole finalist to become the system’s chancellor. The state’s University System has about 340,000 students and roughly 48,000 employees. The board must wait until early next month before taking a final vote.

Wheelan said there have been others without higher education experience who’ve successfully led colleges or university systems.

“Therefore,” Wheelan concluded, “I will NOT be writing to the Board of Regents. Thank you.”

Credit: Photo Contributed

Credit: Photo Contributed

Boedy, who has also been critical of the search process, shared the email exchange with reporters.

Wheelan last year warned the regents the system could be found “out of compliance” if the board’s chancellor search process is politicized. Students at colleges and universities that lose their accreditation for compliance issues cannot receive federal financial aid.

Gov. Brian Kemp and Perdue, both Republicans, are longtime political allies. Kemp, who has appointed many members to the board, has had indirect influence on the selection process.

Kemp’s team were early supporters of Perdue becoming chancellor, although critics noted the former governor has no higher education administrative experience.

Wheelan told Boedy it was “serendipitous” that Kemp was able to appoint several new regents in recent weeks, replacing members who had reservations about Perdue becoming chancellor.