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Towson University's disappointing new hire

It was with resignation that I read about the newly appointed president of Towson University, Kim E. Schatzel ("Towson University names new president," Dec. 4).

Sadly, Towson and the University System of Maryland have known for some time that this position would need to be filled. The state talks about the "mission" of Towson, without really describing what that means.

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University officials continue with the rhetoric that the school is making dramatic improvements to its educational quality and offerings. The reality is that despite all the changes over the last 30 years, Towson still stands academically on the same rung of the ladder relative to other colleges in Maryland.

This was the opportunity to try to attract a president with a proven track record of taking a large university to the next level. The result of the extended national search was a candidate with virtually no experience as a university president but who was a high-ranking official at Eastern Michigan University.

Here's a quick summary of how Eastern Michigan stacks up in terms academic performance and student involvement:

The academic requirements for admission there are typically 15 percent lower than Towson's, with freshman retention almost 20 percent lower and and four- and six-year graduations rates lower still.

In college athletics, student support of the two revenue-generating sports — men's football and basketball — has been dismal, with attendance at the bottom of the Division 1 rankings.

To read student reviews of Eastern Michigan University is to be mostly left disheartened.

This was an ocassion to make a statement that Towson University was on the rise and that a creative and passionate experienced university president would seize the opportunity. But that's not what happened here, and I am not sure who to blame.

Scott Sheppard, Catonsville

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