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Students react to Georgia Southern president's search for new job

STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) - Surprise news is settling in on the campus of Georgia Southern University. President Jaimie Hebert has informed the Georgia University System Board of Regents he's exploring other opportunities.

Dr. Hebert is actually a finalist for two jobs. He's a finalist to become the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and he's a candidate for Provost for the University of Louisiana at his alma mater, Lafayette.

In the day after news of the job search broke, it was business as usual in the heart of Eagle Nation in Statesboro.

As students changed classes, some are surprised by the news that their president may soon be changing campuses, like senior Conrad Randolph.

"Really shocking to see he wants something better, figured he was all in with Georgia Southern University,"  Randolph said.

Junior Alex Kelley questioned the timing of Hebert's job search while conceding his freedom to do so. "Let him do what he wants. I do think it's a little soon considering we just merged with Armstrong and Liberty," Kelley said.

Freshman Jordan Harris says she thought Dr. Hebert was just getting settled in. "It's actually really surprising to me, because he just got here," said Harris.

Dr. Hebert officially took over the reins of Georgia Southern in July 2016. Some students, like recent Georgia Southern graduate Nick Shuber, have serious questions about Hebert's motivation.

"I'm curious. 'Why?' would be the biggest thing going on in my mind right now. Is it the school? What would cause that?" Shuber asked. "Where are we going to get another president? It's kind of an issue." 

Shuber added that he's concerned about the picture a short presidential tenure paints of the university.

"The two places that people look when they go somewhere is, a lot of times, the head coach for the football team and the president of the university," he said. "So the fact that we keep cycling out, it doesn't look too great for us if we keep doing that."

Most students News 3 spoke with agree that Eagle Nation will remain strong if Herbert leaves the nest.

Right now, it's not clear as to when and even if President Hebert will depart Georgia Southern University. If he does, the Board of Regents will begin a search for a new president as soon as that happens.

The board declined any further comment outside of confirmation that Dr. Hebert informed them he was exploring other opportunities.

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