Sam Olens set to start tenure as KSU president Tuesday

Sam Olens photographed in the attorney general’s office, which he held from 2011 through October. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Sam Olens photographed in the attorney general’s office, which he held from 2011 through October. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Sam Olens is scheduled Tuesday to begin his first day as Kennesaw State University’s president.

Some students and faculty, though, are unhappy with his appointment and have tried to stop it in several ways, such as a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a request for an injunction filed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court.

Here are excerpts from a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview with Olens, focusing on his plans for the university.

Q: What are some of the things you’ll want to address immediately?

A: One is improving the graduation rate. The six-year graduation rate is 41 percent … You're never going to get to 100 percent because students can transfer. We can do a better job of providing that assistance to significantly increase the 41 percent committed to working with the staff and faculty. The second area is KSU unfortunately got into a culture where fees other than tuition were way too high, where the student's interest wasn't first.

Q: When a student graduates from Kennesaw State, what do you want them to have learned through their four years or how many years it takes them to graduate?

A: First of all, I want them to have learned. I don't want them to say they skated by. I want to have pushed them. I want to have further developed their mind. I want them to have a very positive experience academically and socially. There's over 200 student associations on campus. You don't want them to just be in the classroom and do homework. You want them to have the full college experience. I want them to have fully enveloped and enjoyed their college experience, and I want them to get a good job.

Q: What steps will you take to allay those concerns (about the administration)?

A: It's going to take further action. Candidly, there have been some dismissals. There will need to be further steps. There are pending investigations. Pending audits. It is clear there were ethical lapses. No question about it. The positive is, it didn't relate to the students or the faculty. It was the administration. A culture needs to be created where that is 100 percent unacceptable.