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Anyone Want to Be a College President? There Are (Many) Openings

To glimpse the tumultuous transitions in American college leadership these days, look no further than the witnesses set to testify at a congressional hearing on Thursday, the fourth in a fiery series on campus antisemitism that has helped topple two university presidents.

Jonathan Holloway, the Rutgers University president and possible contender to succeed the Yale leader who is stepping down next month, will speak. So will Chancellor Gene D. Block of the University of California, Los Angeles, who will leave his post in July and hand off his job of 17 years to someone so far unnamed.

In most any other era, the next leaders of U.C.L.A. and Yale would have already been announced. But the uncertainties from California to Connecticut show just how complex top campus jobs have become in an environment that has grown increasingly polarized.

Since December, Cornell, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania have abruptly announced presidential departures, with Harvard and Penn’s departures coming after widely derided appearances before Congress.

And last week, Mike Lee, Sonoma State University’s president, retired after the California State University’s chancellor said that an announcement about an agreement he had made with pro-Palestinian protesters was “sent without the appropriate approvals” and an act of “insubordination.”

Another witness on Thursday, Michael H. Schill, the president of Northwestern University, has been in his job only since 2022 but has faced calls for his resignation over a deal he struck with demonstrators.

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