1. Sam Olens, 60, is the president of Kennesaw State University until Feb. 15, 2018.
2. Olens is a Florida native and Emory School of Law graduate.
3. He got his political start as a Cobb County commissioner.
4. Olens was appointed KSU president in 2016 after serving as state attorney general.
5. In 2016, Georgia Trend named him Georgian of the Year.
Olens noted in a letter to students and staff that he was a “non-traditional candidate” for the job and that unspecified “challenges to the institution” made for a difficult start. Still, Olens said there were positive changes made during his tenure, such as a new admissions model and programs to help at-risk students.
“While I view this transition as the best course of action for the University, I do so with the realization that I will miss working on behalf of the students at KSU who have the potential to do remarkable things and serve as tomorrow’s leaders,” Olens wrote.
Olens' letter did not explain why he was resigning. Critics said Olens made a series of missteps, such as removing the phrase "social justice" from some faculty job descriptions and plans to end its Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality degree, two years after receiving the largest single donor gift in the university's history for the program.
Faculty members asked Olens to answer an array of written questions about the protest and other campus issues. They also wanted a forum to discuss their concerns.KSU professor Susan Raines, one of three faculty members who filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission objecting to the way Olens was hired, said she hopes his departure will bring about greater transparency on campus.
“We hope that his departure will begin the process of restoring shared governance, reduce the flight of top notch faculty and administrators, and return legitimacy to campus decision-making,” she said.