Cobb County

Sam Olens to step down as Kennesaw State's president

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens announced he is stepping down from his position.

Channel 2's Aaron Diamant broke the news Thursday morning on Twitter.

Olens will step down as president as of Feb. 15, 2018.

Dr. Ken Harmon was named interim president during the transition.

“With more than a decade of experience in leadership roles at KSU, Dr. Harmon will ensure a smooth transition,” said Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley. “We appreciate Dr. Harmon stepping forward to serve KSU’s students, faculty and staff.”

Olens’ tenure has been turbulent from the start, when the University System of Georgia did not conduct a nationwide search and requests from students and faculty.

In October, students were upset at KSU’s decision to keep its cheerleaders off the field during the national anthem. Students said Olens avoided them during the controversy and did not sincerely explain to them the school’s decision.


"Challenges to the institution were evident as I began my tenure and these trials, coupled with internal trepidations, made for a very difficult start. I have worked tirelessly to lead this institution to greater heights, with student success being my number-one priority," Olens said in a letter to students and faculty.

A nationwide search is on for the next president of the university.

Students said they want the new president to listen to their needs.

"We are the ones going to class. We're the ones on campus. We are the ones at the end of the day that are most important," junior Christian Dandridge said. "Just listen. Listen to what we have to say."