Swetland withdraws from presidential candidacy

Msgr. Stuart Swetland, Seton Hall’s only remaining candidate for its presidency, has announced he will withdraw his name from consideration, according to NJ.com

“I wish Seton Hall well in its search for a new president … I’ve discerned right now that God has other things that he wishes for me to do,” said Swetland in the article by the Star-Ledger.

According to the article, Swetland informed the university of his decision to withdraw through his lawyer on Wednesday afternoon.

The NJ.com article also states several university officials said in preliminary negotiations that Swetland was asking for a yearly salary of nearly $300,000, among other perks, including a three-year severance package. Swetland, however, denied that this was the reasoning for his withdrawal.

According to the article, current University President Msgr. Robert Sheeran makes approximately $31,000 per year, which the article said is “consistent with the low salaries many priests and nuns are paid to run Catholic universities.”

However, in a follow-up article on Friday, NJ.com reported that the six-figure salary request isn’t out of the ordinary. A Star-Ledger review of presidential salaries, as cited in the article, showed that pay varies by school and that some priests may donate a high salary to their order.

Swetland, however, is not affiliated with any religious order.

Thomas White, a Seton Hall spokesman, told the Star-Ledger, “This is probably best for both parties. This is the most important decision the university will have made in the last 15 years, so it’s important that we get it right … Monsignor Swetland is tremendously talented and will go on to great things, I’m sure.”

According to the article, White said the South Orange school will name an interim president and move forward from there.

As the Setonian has previously reported, a presidential search and screen committee, as well as a third party executive search firm, Issacson-Miller, had worked throughout the year and has announced two candidates for the position, Swetland and Fr. Kevin Mackin, in the beginning of April.

Mackin, who is the current president of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y, withdrew his name from consideration approximately a week later, on April 13, leaving Msgr. Swetland as the only candidate.

As the Setonian reported on June 4, the Board of Regents met to discuss the presidential search, but no decision had been reached.

Sheeran announced he would step down from the position last June, and will officially leave the position on June 30.

Also in the mix of Swetland’s withdrawal was a report on Wednesday that yet another Faculty Senate resolution expresses displeasure with the search.

An NJ.com story said the Faculty Senate voted once again to re-open the search and allow non-Catholic priest applicants. It also said that the University should name an interim president as the time winds down before Sheeran’s tenure ends.

The Setonian reported on an earlier resolutions this spring – one that was passed the day before Swetland’s official campus visit began. That resolution called for a “new search” and deemed the current one “incomplete.”

Brian Wisowaty contributed to this report. He can be reached at brian.wisowaty@student.shu.edu.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at caitlin.carroll@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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