USF President’s Choice Carries Ramifications

February 2, 2002

By Graham Brink at St. Petersburg Times

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft says her decision on whether to fire controversial professor Sami Al-Arian is one of the most important in the school's 46-year history.

But the stakes may be just as high for her.

Some academics think a decision to fire Al-Arian could cripple any ambitions she may harbor to run a more prestigious university.

"At good universities, the faculty have power and those faculties would never agree to someone being hired who is widely believed to have caved in to political pressure," said Roy Weatherford, president of USF's faculty union. But if Genshaft decides against Al-Arian's termination, she risks alienating her board of trustees, which voted 12-1 in favor of his firing, and Florida's governor and secretary of education. Both endorsed the board's recommendation...

Schools: University of South Florida Cases: University of South Florida: The ‘Heckler’s Veto’