San Jose State University president to step down

Mohammad Qayoumi oversaw controversial partnership with Udacity

The president of San Jose State University, Mohammad Qayoumi, who had a controversial tenure there, will step down from the post next month and take a position with the Afghanistan government, officials announced.

Qayoumi has served as head of the school since 2011. During that time, his administration came under scrutiny for a number of high-profile issues. Faculty had asked California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White for a review of the school after several clashes with the administration.

During his tenure, the school partnered with education provider Udacity to offer five for-credit courses. After trouble with the program, the school scaled back the number of classes to three. Ultimately, the online courses with Udacity were suspended.

Protests also erupted over plans to reduce the size of the African American studies department and last-minute program cuts that Qayoumi ordered. The cuts were later canceled.

In 2013, a group of white students allegedly bullied a black student by calling him racial names, decorating his room with Confederate symbols and knocking him down while trying to put a bicycle lock around his neck.

Three students were charged with hate crimes.

Qayoumi later said he should have intervened sooner.

He also said he was "regretful" for moving too rapidly to institute some academic and budgetary systems, saying he "stepped on" a tradition of cooperation on campus.

Qayoumi declined comment on Tuesday.

White praised Qayoumi's contributions in a statement.

"His laser focus on innovation, coupled with his tireless work in expanding the visibility of the campus within the technology sector, have advanced the campus’ stronghold in the region as a leading provider of [science, technology, engineering and math] graduates," White said. 

Qayoumi's last day will be Aug. 17. He joined the Cal State system in 1986 and worked as a professor and administrator at Cal State Northridge and the president of Cal State East Bay.

He will become an infrastructure and technology advisor to Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan.

The school will begin a national search for Qayoumi's successor.

Twitter: @byjsong

 

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