Folt named president of Southern Cal
Former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt was named Wednesday as the president of the University of Southern California.
Folt becomes the first female president of the 139-year-old private school, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported her appointment.
Folt’s nearly six years of overseeing UNC-Chapel Hill ended in January, shortly after she had the pedestal and markings of a controversial Confederate monument removed from campus.
The “Silent Sam” statue was toppled during an August protest, but Folt said the site continued to present a public safety risk, with supporters and opponents continuing to demonstrate there. So she had crews work overnight to remove what remained of the monument.
The UNC Board of Governors then quickly pushed her resignation date up by four months – she had planned to leave at the end of May.
“I am at complete peace with my decision, and that’s important to me,” she said on her final day at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Not everybody has to agree with what people do, but I did what I thought was best, and I’m at peace with that.”
At USC, Folt must confront other scandals, including recent criminal charges against four athletics officials accused of taking bribes to grant admission to children of wealthy parents.
Also, a former gynecologist is accused of abusing hundreds of patients at the student health center over three decades.
“Ours was a global search, and we spoke to over a hundred diverse and world-class candidates,” Rick Caruso, chairman of the USC Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “Dr. Folt stood out from the very beginning as a courageous and compassionate person who always places the well-being of students, faculty, staff and patients at the heart of all she does.”
“She is the right leader at the right time. She is a remarkable and accomplished woman,” Caruso added.
While Folt has a new home, the Board of Governors is still debating what to do about Silent Sam.
The board rejected a plan to build a history center on campus to house the statue along with material to put it in historical context, and board Chairman Harry Smith pushed back a deadline for new recommendations from March to May.