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Wallerstein changes plans; will continue on as college president until June 2020

In a Nov. 29 personnel and budget committee meeting, Baruch College President Mitchel B. Wallerstein announced that he plans to extend his presidency by a year, contrary to what he
said in a public statement on Oct. 1.

In his original statement two months ago, Wallerstein said that he would step down from his seat in June 2019 after Baruch’s commencement and transition into a professor role at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.

“I have intentionally chosen to inform the interim chancellor of my plans at the start of the fall semester so the university will have ample time and opportunity to establish a search committee and retain the services of a national search firm,” Wallerstein wrote in an email to students that announced his planned departure from the college.

Wallerstein has not yet made the new information of his extension public, though “a public statement will be released at a later date,” confirmed Christina Latouf, the college’s chief communications and marketing officer, in an email to The Ticker.

Wallerstein has been Baruch’s president since his August 2010 appointment, and now is choosing to remain until June 2020 to give the new CUNY chancellor, who will succeed current Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz, time to select a viable candidate for president, a professor present at the meeting told The Ticker.

Wallerstein, who didn’t respond to an email from The Ticker, said in the meeting that more qualified candidates would be attracted to his soon-to-be unoccupied seat if the chancellor position were finalized first.

The CUNY chancellor is responsible for recommending to the CUNY Board of Trustees college presidents for appointment. Rabinowitz still has to appoint permanent presidents in two schools: Queensborough Community College and the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

The board has the power to appoint the CUNY chancellor when there’s a vacancy. Following former Chancellor James B. Milliken’s notice that he’d step down come June 2018, Rabinowitz was temporarily appointed to the seat for a calendar year, giving the board until May 2019 to come up with a final appointment.

As an interim chancellor, Rabinowitz, according to the board’s policy on chancellor searches, “shall not be a candidate for chancellor.” The position remains unfilled.

Even if Rabinowitz has candidates lined up to replace Wallerstein in anticipation of his earlier announcement, it appears far likelier that the newly appointed chancellor in June will select the final replacement for Baruch’s president.

December 10, 2018

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Yelena Dzhanova


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