Jan 19, 2020
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Rutgers to Name Its First Black President, School Official Says

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Jonathan Holloway, the provost of Northwestern University, is expected to take over leadership of Rutgers University next week, becoming its first black president, a school official said on Sunday.

The decision will be announced on Tuesday, following approval by the university’s board of governors and board of trustees, the Rutgers official said, on the condition of anonymity because the hire was not yet official.

Dory Devlin, a Rutgers spokeswoman, would not comment but said that a joint meeting would take place on Tuesday to elect “an executive-level position.”

Dr. Holloway could not be reached for comment and officials at Northwestern did not immediately return a request for comment.

If approved, Dr. Holloway will be replacing Robert L. Barchi, the current president, who Ms. Devlin said will step down at the end of the school year. Mr. Barchi is credited with expanding the student body, spending billions of dollars in constructing new facilities and merging Rutgers with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Before being named provost at Northwestern University in 2017, Dr. Holloway, 52, a scholar of African-American history and a former football player at Stanford University, was previously the dean of Yale College, holding one of the most prestigious positions in academia.

But during his tenure at Yale, the school faced student protests that attracted nationwide attention.

Dr. Holloway was at the center of a storm of student protests that were set off by an email in 2015 from a faculty member who suggested that students should be allowed to wear whatever Halloween costumes they wanted, regardless of whether they offended someone. Many students considered the email to be culturally offensive, and the controversy sparked debate about the university’s history and the way it has dealt with race.

Dr. Holloway, who became the first black dean of Yale in 2014, embraced some student demands, like calling for a more diverse faculty. But he was also criticized by some students who said he should have worked harder to address concerns about race on campus.

When he left Yale for Northwestern, he said the protests played no part in the decision.

If Dr. Holloway’s hire is approved, the number of minority presidents will nudge higher, although they still make up less than a fifth of all college and university presidents, according to the most recent data published by the American Council on Education. Also, just 8 percent of the 17 percent of minority presidents are black, Afro-Caribbean or African-American, according to the council.

Dr. Holloway is the author of several books, including “Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941,” and “Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940.”

According to Northwestern University, Dr. Holloway received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University. He began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, before joining the faculty at Yale in 1999.

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