COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri System is set to hire the provost and executive vice chancellor at the State University of New York to run its flagship campus in Columbia, two years after the previous chancellor resigned amid protests over racial concerns on campus.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that multiple sources confirmed that Alexander Cartwright will be the next leader of the Columbia campus. The Board of Curators for the four-campus University of Missouri system is expected to finalize Cartwright's hiring Tuesday. Plans to formally introduce him on campus Wednesday afternoon come after a national search for a replacement for R. Bowen Loftin.
Among Cartwright's duties in his role at SUNY's 64-campus system has been overseeing policies pertaining to diversity and inclusion.
University system spokesman John Fougere said in an email that while an announcement is expected "soon," the system is "maintaining our policy of confidentiality of any possible candidates." A spokeswoman for SUNY declined to comment, and a spokesman for the Columbia campus didn't' immediately respond to phone messages from The Associated Press.
Loftin and system President Tim Wolfe resigned in fall 2015 amid protests over the administration's handling of racial issues, which included a student's hunger strike and a threatened boycott by the football team.
Enrollment and revenue have dropped since the protests, with the campus planning to not open seven residence halls in the fall. Preliminary numbers show the freshman class could be around 4,000 students, down from 6,000 in the fall of 2015.
Cartwright, who currently lives in Albany with his wife and two children, will inherit the responsibility for handling the university's ongoing public perception problem. While the protests were a contributing factor to Loftin's departure in particular, he also had a strained relationship with university leaders, including Wolfe. Days before he stepped down one academic department took a vote of no confidence in him. Nine out of 13 campus deans also issued a letter calling for his dismissal.