"There shouldn't be a litmus test for anyone in higher education. It is antithetical to the freedoms and diversity of thought that we stand for in higher education."
Such a dispute hardly seemed possible when Nail arrived two years ago from Texas Tech.
"Lance has an extraordinary record of success improving the national rankings and increasing philanthropic giving at the universities he has served," Chukuka Enwemeka, SDSU's provost at the time, said in a public statement.
Little has changed. SDSU's undergraduate business program was ranked 87th nationally in 2019 by US News and World Report.
And friction developed between Nail and de la Torre, who didn't hire him.
On Saturday, Nail sent de la Torre an email claiming that people involved with the university had been telling him that the president had belittled his service as dean.
He was especially bothered by the alleged claim that he wasn't an effective fundraiser, and frustrated that he wasn't chosen to be the university's new provost.
Nail said he didn't apply to be provost, and that he surpassed his fundraising goals. He also objected to the implication that he did not get along with key members of San Diego's business community.
"I do hope that what I have heard about these statements is a misunderstanding or miscommunication and may simply be cleared up with a clarifying response from you," Nail wrote to de la Torre.
"However, I have personally experienced you disparaging former SDSU employees and I will not tolerate you intentionally making known incorrect statements about me."
SDSU said in a statement: "We are grateful for Dean Lance Nail's contributions at SDSU and as dean of the SDSU Fowler College of Business. We also wish him all the best in his new position in Texas. As a matter of institutional policy, we do not comment further on personnel matters."
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