newsSchools & Higher Education

Sonoma State University suspends its president after caving to protesters

The administrator did not have the necessary approval for acquiescence to demands by anti-Israel activists.

Ruben Salazar Hall on campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. Credit: Stepheng3 via Wikimedia Commons.
Ruben Salazar Hall on campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. Credit: Stepheng3 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mildred García, chancellor of California State University, has announced the placement of Mike Lee, president of Sonoma State University, on administrative leave, citing his decision to buckle to Israel boycott advocates.

García said in her statement on Wednesday that the previous evening, Lee had “sent a campuswide message concerning an agreement with campus protesters,” but the “message was sent without the appropriate approvals.”

Vowing to provide additional details soon, García stated that “for now, because of this insubordination and consequences it has brought upon the system, President Lee has been placed on administrative l​eave.”

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Nathan Evans, deputy vice chancellor for academic and student affairs and chief academic officer, began serving as acting president on May 15.

García acknowledged “how deeply concerned I am about the impact the statement has had on the Sonoma State community, and how challenging and painful it will be​ for many of our students and community members to see and read.”

She wrote that the school’s “heart and mission” was to “create an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone we serve​, not to marginalize one community over another.”

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