TRUMBULL — GOP gubernatorial candidate and former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst said Monday the next governor should lead the search for a replacement for UCONN President Susan Herbst, who announced Monday she would leave her position in the Summer of 2019.
“The UCONN Board of Trustees should wait to begin the formal search for the next president of UCONN until the next governor takes office in January 2019 so that, working together, they can find the best fit to lead this institution that is so critical to our state,” Herbst said. “We simply must have a change in culture at the top of our state university system to put the focus on education and opportunity for our young people.”
“Susan Herbst’s tenure has been unfortunately marked by budget mismanagement and repeated efforts to use the university system and her position to engage in politically-motivated battles,” Herbst continued. “We need a new president of UCONN who leaves partisan politics at the door and who devotes 100 percent of their energy to improving the quality and availability of a college education in the State of Connecticut.”
“The Board of Trustees that I appoint are going to very clearly know where I stand with respect to the mission of UCONN, the purpose for its existence, what it’s there to do, and quite frankly that it’s not going to be a bottomless pit of state taxpayer funds,” Herbst said.
Herbst has been a vocal critic of Susan Herbst’s tenure at UCONN that has included politically-charged controversy and misguided budgeting decisions.
In February, Herbst called for Susan Herbst to resign as President of UCONN over allegations the university cancelled a sports broadcasting relationship with WTIC over the station’s conservative programming.
Herbst was also critical of Susan Herbst for participating in a September press conference with Gov. Malloy and Democratic legislators in Groton dominated by partisan attacks on GOP lawmakers and her spending decisions.
“If Susan Herbst was a capable leader of our state’s flagship university system she would be focused on properly managing UCONN’s budget,” Herbst said at the time. “Instead, she has locked arms with Gov. Malloy to intimidate lawmakers into giving UCONN more taxpayer money as she continues to give huge raises to campus administrators.”
“Susan Herbst believes struggling Connecticut taxpayers should sacrifice more to boost UCONN’s budget while she grants her staff big raises and treats Storrs like her own personal Versailles, with university-provided houses, vehicles and drivers,” he said.
Herbst said if a suitable replacement cannot be found between January 2019 and Susan Herbst’s departure in the Summer of 2019, the Board, in consultation with the next governor, should appoint an interim president to ensure a smooth transition.