Signs point to UNC Chapel Hill’s chancellor leaving for Michigan State University

In this photo taken Wednesday, May 13, 2015, Kevin Guskiewicz, looks at game video while conducting research on helmet sensors at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH — Recent news out of Michigan State University (MSU) points to UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz becoming the school’s next president. 

The State News reported that Guskiewicz was one of two finalists for the MSU presidency spot, however, the other candidate, University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy, had withdrawn himself from consideration.  

In a statement to UNC’s student newspaper The Daily Tarheel, Guskiewicz would only say he is “focused on serving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a special place I have lived, worked, and loved for 28 years.”  

According to The Daily Tarheel, UNC Board of Trustees Chair John Pryor said the board would remain focused on “the excellence and continued progress of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” and that the school’s success “is bigger than any one person.” 

Guskiewicz has faced several controversies while serving at UNC Chapel Hill over the past five years including handling the COVID-19 pandemic and protests resulting in the removal of the Confederate “Silent Sam” statue from the campus grounds.  

Under his tenure, the lawsuit over race-based admissions policies came to its conclusion in 2023 following a U.S. Supreme Court decision ending the practice. The previous year, free speech on campus received a boost with the establishment of the School of Civic Life and Leadership.  

Earlier this year, UNC Chapel Hill also saw a walk-out by a group of UNC law school students after the school removed law student Jamie Marsicano, who was charged with domestic terrorism for his role in a violent anti-police riot in Atlanta, Ga. Marsicano, who identified as “transgender” and is the son of Charlotte businessman and millionaire Michael Marsicano, was indicted on Nov. 6 along with 60 others on the domestic terror charges and additional Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act charges. 

In moving to MSU, Guskiewicz would be inheriting a role marked by several scandals, including the firing of football coach Mel Tucker after he was accused of sexual harassment and former gymnastics coach Larry Nasser, who, in a widely publicized case, was convicted in 2016 on felony sexual abuse charges involving female athletes. 

Just last month, the school faced criticism of its leadership from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer after the scoreboard before the Michigan-MSU football game showed an image of Adolf Hitler. 

The State News has also reported on issues surrounding MSU’s Board Chair Rema Vassar’s removal “over wide-ranging allegations of unethical conduct.” 

Guskiewicz is UNC Chapel Hill’s 12th chancellor and was the school’s interim chancellor from Feb. 2019 to Dec. 2019 until he was permanently installed in the role. Prior to becoming chancellor, he was the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and a member of the faculty at UNC since 1995.  

He is the co-director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and as a neuroscientist, Guskiewicz is nationally recognized for his expertise in sport-related concussions.