An April 19 News editorial criticized the SUNY board's appointment of Chancellor Robert King as interim president and professor at Potsdam State College.
Rather than judging King by his success or failure to lead the nation's largest public university system, the editorial seems to attack him because of his credentials prior to becoming chancellor. This is like blaming a winning coach for lacking prior experience.
Experience as a professor is an important asset for a university leader, but it hardly guarantees success. King's background as a lawyer, an administrator of complex organizations and his understanding of finance and politics has well served the State University of New York. He has increased the autonomy of SUNY centers, made them more accountable and presided over effective appointments of a number of SUNY presidents.
The SUNY Faculty Senate recently passed a resolution applauding the results of King's leadership, such as increased enrollment, greater admissions selectivity and an increase of $1 billion in philanthropic giving.
It is not uncommon for academic institutions nationwide to tap the talents of leaders in all branches of government and business to serve as professors and leaders. Seen in this light, The News would have better served its readers by presenting a more balanced assessment of King's contributions.
UB Distinguished Professor
Melvin H. Baker
Professor of American Enterprise