Suffolk University Board To Vote Whether to Remove President

It’s become something of an annual tradition: For the fourth time in five years, Suffolk University is moving to oust its president just eight months after Margaret McKenna took the job. Many of Massachusetts’ movers and shakers are graduates of Suffolk Law School.

Margaret McKenna is a seasoned college president. She’s earned the respect of faculty and students, who are showing support on campus and on social media using the hashtag #SUStandsWithMcKenna.

“The stability and integrity of our alma mater is extremely important to us,” the group Alumni for Suffolk wrote on Twitter.

College presidents, though, increasingly serve at the pleasure of their boards. Former Bucknell University president Brian Mitchell says that can lead to instability.

“We have part-time volunteers making decisions as members of boards of trustees about the future of an institution when they might be on campus three or four times a year,” Mitchell said.

Suffolk’s Board worries some of McKenna’s sending decisions have put the university on shaky financial ground. The vote to remove McKenna is scheduled for Friday, and it comes amid reports that former attorney general Martha Coakley is negotiating with the Board to replace her.

Earlier: At Suffolk University, New President Pledges Affordability

In September, McKenna joined Boston Public Radio’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagen to discuss the challenges facing Suffolk – from skyrocketing costs to a shrinking endowment.

“I have no interest in doing the same old,” McKenna said shortly after taking the job. “We need to focus on the things we do well.”

Listen to the full interview here:

[Cross-posted at On Campus: the WGBH News Higher Education Blog]

Kirk Carapezza

Kirk Carapezza is the lead reporter for On Campus. Kirk has reported for Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, Wis., and Vermont Public Radio in Montpelier, Vt. He's been a writer and producer at WBUR in Boston; a teacher and coach at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass.; a Fenway Park tour guide; and a tourist abroad.

Kirk received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and earned his M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. When he's not reporting or editing stories on campus, you can find him posting K's on the Wall at Fenway.