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A message to the Lock Haven community

KYLE SCHLECHT

Altoona

I am proud to call myself a student of Lock Haven University, and the Lock Haven community should feel the same way for having such a prominent institution in its backyard.

As you may have heard, LHU is under the new leadership of interim President Dr. Bashar Hanna. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) designated Dr. Hanna to lead LHU toward the proposed Northeast integration, even though in my opinion, Dr. Hanna has proved his leadership qualities to the students, faculty and staff at LHU.

Dr. Hanna has been employed in higher education for most of his career. Serving as LHU’s interim president, he also is president of Bloomsburg University.

Dr. Hanna has been LHU’s interim president for almost a month, yet a true university president would have already made it their priority to understand the values and goals we have at LHU.

So far as I know, Dr. Hanna has not made reached out to get to know the community he is serving.

Why the PASSHE Board of Governors would appoint someone who knows so little about LHU to fill the vacancy is beyond my comprehension.

PASSHE is more concerned with appointing someone who will help them with integration.

LHU deserves someone who shares our values and who will lead us Bald Eagles to soar higher into the future.

During Dr. Hanna’s time in higher education, there have been many documented accusations against him of unprofessional conducted. The Philadelphia Inquirer most notably reported a story about Dr. Hanna’s unprofessionalism throughout his roles within PASSHE and other institutions. His career has been a “revolving door” through higher education institutions, as it appears he has been forced out of jobs at distinguished universities.

A simple Google search of his name will reveal a trainwreck track-record. Those leading PASSHE have failed to recognize this and have enabled him to hold power over many.

This past Wednesday night, a joint meeting among Mansfield, Lock Haven and Bloomsburg universities was conducted to discuss the proposed integration.

Those who attended were able to ask questions, and many attendees directed their questions to the integrity of Dr. Hanna’s leadership role at LHU. Dr. Hanna addressed us by lashing out, speaking down to all of us in this meeting.

He said “any accusations made against him are not true.” Dr. Hanna also stated that there is “pending litigation” against him that he could not speak about.

So far as I’m concerned, his conduct in this meeting showed his true colors, and we at LHU cannot stand for it. The reports of his past are worrisome and its a shame he had to talk down to us for questioning his past conduct.

In the past month, students and faculty have spoken out against Dr. Hanna’s role as interim president of LHU.

Dr. Tara Mitchell, a psychology professor at LHU, wrote an op-ed to The (Lock Haven) Express this past week voicing faculty opposition to Dr. Hanna as he has not communicated effectively with them.

With outpouring opposition from both the faculty and student body, it should be within his best interest to be more transparent with us or resign from his position as interim president.

Students, faculty and staff want a university president who reflects our values as an institution and our passion for it. We do not want a leader who will cave to those at PASSHE whose intentions we believe may not be in the best interests of LHU. The Lock Haven community will not benefit unless LHU succeeds. Our voices will not be silenced until we are pleased with an individual who can lead us to soar higher.

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