Former UH-Clear Lake President Finds Another Job He's Not Good At

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The latest edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education has a story (not online for non-subscibers) about troubles at the American University of Afghanistan, a high-profile Bush Administration project in Kabul.

Development there has been slow, and the blame goes mostly on the school's president, who recently resigned, the paper said.

[Faculty] describe him as an absent administrator, detached from the realities on the ground and uninterested in soliciting advice from the staff.

And although one of his main responsibilities was to raise money for the university, it is unclear whether he brought in much of anything, faculty members say.

The complaints might sound familiar to some Houston educators. The ousted president is Thomas Stauffer, who was essentially ousted from the top job at UH-Clear Lake in 1991.

Stauffer was given a vote of no-confidence by the faculty senate three different times during his eight years at UHCL. The biggest dispute involved his firing of a tenured professor.

"It is impossible for the faculty and the rest of the university community to have any confidence in leadership which constantly undermines efforts towards an improved university community," the senate committee wrote in a letter to him, the Houston Chronicle reported at the time.

After quitting at UHCL, Stauffer went to Golden Gate Law School in San Francisco, where he got a no-confidence vote and resigned.

He then tried to get the job of president of Nevada State College. In the job interview, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reported, candidates were asked about their fund-raising abilities.

Stauffer, a former president at Golden Gate College in San Francisco and the University of Houston, Clear Lake, volunteered to write a personal check for an unspecified amount to Nevada State College at Henderson if he were selected president. "The selling goes easier after you've done it yourself," he said.

So he could obviously adapt to the Way Things Are Done In Vegas. Apparently he couldn't pull it off in Kabul, though.

-- Richard Connelly

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