In times of crisis, when hard decisions have to be made, good leaders are able to draw on reservoirs of respect and trust. They listen, they consult, they communicate transparently, and they explore every possible alternative before taking steps that affect lives and livelihoods. None of this is happening at George Washington University. As the Aug. 29 Metro article “Leadership questions mount at GWU” pointed out, that the leadership failure — millions of dollars spent on Disney consultants, enrollment cuts, racial insensitivity, noncompetitive high-level hires — was evident before the pandemic. The secret decision-making and appallingly bad judgment, such as offering a high-level executive position to a person with ties to the Michigan State University sexual abuse scandal, continue, and all compounded by layoffs communicated in group Zoom calls. As we begin a new school year, the time has come to resolve these chronic leadership problems.

The GW Board of Trustees must recognize that President Thomas J. LeBlanc’s appointment was a costly mistake. The trustees have backed him through thick and thin, but his tenure has eroded GW’s reputation and sapped the morale of the staff, students and faculty at a time when their goodwill and cooperation are needed as never before. GW deserves a competent, empathetic and effective leader who can be trusted. Mr. LeBlanc has none of these attributes.

If GW is to survive, Mr. LeBlanc must go.

Bernard Wood, Washington

The writer is a professor at
George Washington University.