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Judy Genshaft

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Judy Genshaft
11th President of the
University of South Florida
Assumed office
July 5, 7, 2000
Preceded by Betty Castor
Personal details
Born January 7, 1948
Canton, Ohio
Spouse(s) Steven Greenbaum
Alma mater University of Wisconsin at Madison BSW
Kent State University MEd
Kent State University PhD
Profession University president

Judy Lynn Genshaft (born January 7, 1948) is President of University of South Florida since 2000.[1] Her tenure was marked with the controversial firing of Sami Al-Arian, which became the largest case of academic freedom since Angela Davis in the 1960s.[2] She received $879,506 for the 2015-2016 academic year, ranking her as the 11th highest paid university president in the United States.[3][4][5]

Early life and career

Genshaft was born and raised in Canton, Ohio in 1948. Her father was a Russian immigrant who migrated to the United States after fleeing conscription. Her mother is a Canton native with family roots in Russia. As a child, she thought all old people spoke Yiddish and was surprised when she heard an older person speak English.[6]

She graduated from University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in social work and psychology in 1969.[7][8] She completed her masters in 1973[9] and doctorate in 1975 at Kent State University in school counseling and counseling psychology, respectively.[10][7] After graduation, she worked at Ohio State University. She received tenure and full professor rank.

She became Dean of Education at University at Albany. After a national search and recommended by the search committee, Hitchcock promoted her to Vice President of Academic Affairs.[11]

She also served as director of American Momentum Bank. She served as chair of the NCAA Board and the American Council on Education Board.[12]

President at University of South Florida

Al-Arian controversy

Following the September 11 attacks, USF professor Sami Al-Arian began receiving death threats following inflammatory accusations by Bill O'Reilly during an interview on The O'Reilly Factor.[13] In October 2001, Genshaft placed Al-Arian on paid administrative leave and prohibited him from entering USF property because she believed his presence would compromise campus security.[14][15] When students and faculty were on leave for winter recess in December 2001, Genshaft and the USF Board of Trustees fired Al-Arian from teaching at USF. The Faculty Senate President Gregory Paveza condemned firing as underhanded because the professor did not have his side of the story heard.[16] The faculty adviser to the Provost resigned in protest of the firing.[17] The Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting in January 2002 in which they approved a resolution that condemned the firing as an assault to academic freedom.[18][19] United Faculty of Florida, the faculty union representing USF professors, voted to throw its full support behind Al-Arian and condemned the university for exaggerating security concerns until he was arrested by the FBI.[20]

Connections to Israel

Genshaft raised controversy through her condemnation of the American Studies Association boycott resolution because of their perception of USFs investments by the Students for the Justice of Palestine group in illegal Israeli settlements.[21][2] She is a veteran of at least 25 trips to Israel, including a trade mission with Republican governor Rick Scott.[22] She received the Captain of Education Award in 2007 from Hadassah College.[23]

Salary and staff sick pay eliminations

After 2015, her contract is renewed year-to-year rather than spanning five years.[24] In March 2017, USF's Board of Trustees voted to provide her with a total compensation package $924,547, including a base salary of $505,837 with 37% of the total package tied to performance.[25] Under Florida law, state funding for the president's salary is capped at $200,000. USF uses private funding to make up the difference.[26]

Genshaft’s administration eliminated sick pay compensation in 2014 for new staff hires, citing a budget shortfall to justify doing away with the fifty-year-old policy. During collective bargaining USF eliminated sick pay payouts at the end of employment for employees hired after January 1, 2014 or less than 10 years of service, doing away with the longstanding policy. According to a state audit released in December, the school broke state rules in overpaying more than $200,000 to three top administrators and paid $2.5 million in severance to fired football coach, Skip Holtz.[22]

Relationship with student body

In 2016, a student campaign organized by Student for Democratic Society to persuade Genshaft to change the name of a campus building named failed. The campaign targeted the removal of Bill Young's name because of Young's homophobic actions in the 1960s on the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee and his continued support for anti-LGBTQIA+ policies up until his death.[27]

In January 2017, some students criticized Genshaft for delaying her decision to issue a statement on Donald Trump's controversial immigration ban.[28] More than 130 professors, researchers and graduate students signed a letter to Genshaft demanding the university to stand behind their work during expected budget cuts after the election of Trump.[29] Students held demonstrations calling on USF to sign Worker Rights Consortium, which is a corporate social responsibility organization that pushes for rights for factory laborers. Student efforts to meet with leadership were ignored.[30]

Emerging preeminence

In 2018, USF met 11 of the 12 metrics for "full preeminence standard". Genshaft set a goal of meeting full preeminence standards and in June 2018 anticipates the Florida BOG will certify the fulfillment.[31]

Adjunct faculty protests

Adjunct faculty professors launched Faculty Forward, a campaign to unionize adjuncts. A state hearing officer recommended Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC) in October 2017 to approve the adjuncts’ request for an election “as soon as is practicable” but Genshaft's administration took steps to delay union elections. The protesting adjunct professors were supported by Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp.[32]

Personal life

Genshaft married Steven Greenbaum in 1989 and has two sons, Joel and Bryan.[8] She serves on the board of directors of Fresh Mark, an Ohio-based meat producer that was started by Genshaft's father and is currently run by the Genshaft family.[33] Her brother Neil Genshaft is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Mark.[11][34] She decided not to live in the on-campus residence, the 9,000-square-foot Lifsey House, and lives currently in Tampa Palms neighborhood near campus.[11]


She received leadership awards from Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand. She received an honorary degrees from Yeungnam University.[35][36] In 2012, the USF marching band dedicated its first half time show of the 2012-13 season to her.[37]


  1. ^ "Buzz Worthy Items of Note". Tampa Bay Magazine. 23 (1): 75. January–February 2008. ISSN 1070-3845. 
  2. ^ a b Erchid, Omar (11 April 2014). "Florida university president who condemned boycott has financial ties to settlements". Mondoweiss. Retrieved 25 May 2018. 
  3. ^ "USF president Genshaft near top of highest-paid college execs lists". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  4. ^ "USF President Genshaft's performance earns her a significant stipend". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  5. ^ "How much money do Florida's private college presidents take home?". 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  6. ^ "Judy Genshaft oral history interview by Mark I. Greenberg". April 23, 2004. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  7. ^ a b "State: Genshaft's varied career helps make the grade". 2000-03-11. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  8. ^ a b "Dr. Judy L. Genshaft". 1997-05-01. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  9. ^ "Alumni | Kent State University". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  10. ^ "Judy Genshaft bio". 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  11. ^ a b c "Judy Genshaft at USF: 5 more years to finish the job?". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  12. ^ "USF transformed during Judy Genshaft's 10 years as president". 2010-07-04. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  13. ^ "Transcript: O'Reilly Interviews Al-Arian in September 2001". Fox News. February 20, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Threats continue after professor leaves". St. Petersburg Times. October 14, 2001. 
  15. ^ Klein, Barry (December 19, 2001). "USF trustees to hear report on Al-Arian". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  16. ^ Persaud, Babita (January 1, 2002). "Faculty to discuss Al-Arian firing". St. Petersburg Times. 
  17. ^ Persaud, Babita (January 4, 2002). "Adviser protests Al-Arian decision". St. Petersburg Times. 
  18. ^ Leiby, Richard (July 28, 2002). "Talking Out of School; Was an Islamic Professor Exercising His Freedom or Promoting Terror?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ Klein, Barry; Babita Persaud (January 10, 2002). "Faculty leaders refuse to back Al-Arian firing". St. Petersburg Times. 
  20. ^ Persaud, Babita (January 11, 2002). "USF faculty union supports Al-Arian". St. Petersburg Times. 
  21. ^ "Divestment petition gathers over 10,000 signatures at USF". 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  22. ^ a b "How Israel buys loyalty of US university administrators". The Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  23. ^ "2016 Malone Award Recipient Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  24. ^ "USF president Genshaft could earn $768,500 after trustees approve pay raise". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  25. ^ "BOT approves Genshaft for salary increase | The Oracle". 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  26. ^ "USF President Judy Genshaft awarded new contract, raise of up to 8 percent". 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  27. ^ "USF group wants Bill Young's name removed from ROTC building". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  28. ^ "At USF and other college campuses, angst swells over immigration order | Tampa Bay Times". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  29. ^ Seán Kinane (2017-01-27). "Students and profs ask: Will USF back its scientists in Trump era?". WMNF. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  30. ^ "Students protest sweatshops | The Oracle". 2016-11-16. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  31. ^ Hair, Amber (June 23, 2016). "USF declared 'emerging preeminent,' gets $5 million for research". 
  32. ^ "Adjunct faculty members rally to rebuke Genshaft, call for vote on proposed union". The Crow's Nest. Retrieved 2017-12-29. 
  33. ^ "Working at Fresh Mark". Glassdoor. Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  34. ^ Matthew Rink. "Fresh Mark makes strides in meat industry". Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  35. ^ "2016 Malone Award Recipient Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-03-30. 
  36. ^ "USIL grants honorary doctorate to Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida (USA)". Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  37. ^ "we love judy halftime show". September 1, 2012. 

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