Provost Laura Bloomberg chosen as CSU’s eighth president, replacing Harlan Sands

The abrupt change of leadership was announced early Tuesday morning

Dr. Laura Bloomberg joined CSU as SVP of Academic Affairs and Provost in September. She will now become the university’s eighth president. Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University

Cleveland State University announced this morning in an email from Board of Trustees chair David Reynolds that “the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees and President Harlan Sands have mutually agreed to part ways over differences regarding how the university should be led in the future.”

The change of leadership was effective immediately, with the university website and social media accounts reflecting the change. This follows two emergency meetings called by the board yesterday and today “to discuss personnel matters regarding the employment and contract of a public employee.”

Sands served as CSU’s president since 2018, and guided the university throughout the CSU 2.0 planning process, which seeks to vastly increase the amount of students attending and living at CSU. His leadership style, “management by wandering around,” had him seen frequently in all corners of the university, but his decisions were controversial among faculty, staff, and students alike, spawning pushback from Faculty Senate and many others.

Almost exactly one year ago, the Board of Trustees finalized a contract extension for President Harlan Sands through June 2026. The contract included annual retention bonuses and a plan for Sands to transition to the university’s faculty as a full, tenured professor in the CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law after his time as president, a plan that will take effect early as part of Sands’ severance package. Still, the campus community is left to wonder what changed over the previous year that changed the Board of Trustees’ opinions of Sands.

This decision was also made just days before the expiration of board member Thomas Adler’s term on May 1, 2022.

In 2021, Dr. Laura Bloomberg was selected as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. Bloomberg was previously Professor and Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, where she worked for 24 years. She has been at CSU for just short of eight months.

“I have been inspired by the fundamental strengths and resiliency of both the community and this university, and I look forward to a very exciting future together,” said Dr. Bloomberg.

“We are very pleased that in Dr. Bloomberg we have an energetic, dynamic and highly qualified academic leader already within our ranks who is exceedingly prepared to lead this university as it emerges from a very challenging period,” said David Reynolds, CSU Board of Trustees chairman. “During her relatively brief tenure at CSU, she has quickly demonstrated her ability to work well with faculty and students, as well as excellent external relations and fundraising skills.”

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