WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) - Some students, faculty and alumni at Babson College are questioning whether former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has the proper qualifications and background to lead the business school, prompting trustees and Healey herself to defend the decision.
The chairman of Babson's board of trustees held two meetings last week -one with students, the other with faculty and staff - and delivered a five-page rebuttal to concerns about the choice.
A search committee considered more than 170 candidates. But on the Wellesley campus and online, some students and faculty have complained that the process was hasty and incomplete.
In a question-and-answer document, The Boston Globe reported, members of the Faculty Senate wrote that "college morale -faculty, staff, students, alums - is deeply affected, with the high potential for long-term damage. How can we address this?"
Dante Love, a Babson alumnus who graduated in 2008, criticized the administration for rushing the process. Babson should reopen the search and take community suggestions seriously, he said.
The college's trustees "made a highly questionable decision, and they are unwilling to reconsider alternatives," said Love, who lives in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Healey, 52, a Republican who served as Gov. Mitt Romney's lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2007, has the support of others associated with the private school with about 3,300 undergraduate and graduate students. She takes over July from current President Leonard Schlesinger.
Matt Muller, Babson's student body president, said he is pleased with the choice, and how the administration has responded to student concerns.
"On a personal level I'm pretty excited that Dr. Healey is on board," he said. "Len is a very difficult person to follow up, in terms of his decisions and strategies for the school." Muller said Healey will do well: "Having had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Healey at length, she gets what Babson is about."
The 52-year-old Healey told the Globe she has met with hundreds of members of the Babson community and plans more meetings to respond to concerns and gain trust, and said Tuesday that she has been an entrepreneurial leader in the political and nonprofit sectors. "Babson embraces all kinds of entrepreneurship, including social entrepreneurship and people who are entrepreneurs in their approach to government, as well as those who work in the private sector," she said.
Also a former member of the Republican National Committee, she added that is no longer involved in partisan politics, although she did not rule out a future run for public office.