'Students Against Sonny': Group launches petition in search for USG chancellor

A grassroots group of Georgia college students launched an effort this week to advocate against the hiring of former Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia.

"Students Against Sonny" published a petition on Change.org and plans to hold a protest in front of the Board of Regents building next week.

 "This position is supposed to be for experienced educators," said Alex Ames, who is a freshman at Georgia Tech and one of the organizers of "Students Against Sonny."  "It's someone who's going to lead our pandemic recovery, someone who's going to control a whole lot of money and research institutions across the state and the fact that Sonny Perdue, someone who has never worked in higher education and actually has a proven track record of harming students during this pandemic is being considered, that's a joke."

Perdue served as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011 and also served as U.S. Agriculture Secretary under President Donald Trump.  

 In January, the Board of Regents launched a search to find a replacement for current Chancellor Steve Wrigley, who announced he would be retiring on July 1.

"The Regents Search Advisory Group is working with the executive search firm of Parker Executive Search to find the right candidate to lead one of the top university systems in the nation. It encourages stakeholder input, including the use of this website for public comment and updates as the search progresses," the USG wrote on its website.  

 The advisory group held a series of virtual listening sessions in March and has an online survey to take public input.

"We're willing to fight for our future and that's what we're doing here," said Ames. 

Requests to the Board of Regents for comment have not been returned and attempts to reach Perdue have also been unsuccessful. 

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