By Shelby Brown–
While the U of L presidential search listening tour subcommittee bickers over details, the application deadline for someone to lead U of L is two weeks away and no forums have been scheduled.
The listening tours, touted in September when the search was announced as closed, will be scheduled soon, the subcommittee chair said. The Presidential Search Faculty Search Subcommittee met Nov. 13.
“Until the listening tour occurs, we can’t move much further with the search,” chair Bonita Black said.
Black said scheduling conflicts prevented an early October meeting.
“We need a quorum to conduct business. We persisted until we found one. We actually work very well together as a board and all share the same goal — to make the university the best it can be,” Black said in an email.
The president position was posted to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s website Sept. 19. It encourages interested candidates to apply before Dec. 1. According to the website, the deadline ensures “optimal consideration.”
Search firm R. William Funk & Associates founder said dragging the search process out too long could cause a loss of potential candidates. Funk said he is reluctant to change the date, though he considers Dec. 1 a “soft deadline” with candidates still up for consideration afterward.
“This has been a very difficult search because of the issues the university has had to face which were widely publicized through the Chronicle,” Funk said via Skype.
Professor Enid Trucios-Haynes, the faculty representative on the board, believes the candidate pool can only be fully developed once a leadership statement is finalized and the listening tours are completed. Trucios-Haynes said the leadership statement would help put the university in a more positive light.
The leadership statement cannot be completed until the listening tour ends, leading Trucios-Haynes to suggest the Dec. 1 deadline be extended.
Debate sparked again about the closed search.
Arts & Sciences Representative Susan Jarosi said an important part of the listening tour will be coming up with sincere language. Jarosi, also the president of U of L’s American Association of University Professors, questioned what the board’s said about the search.
“The way that decisions have been made up to this point, the fact that this is our first meeting, some of the statements that have been made have been communicating something very different. (They are) communicating either that this search is rigged, it’s a sham or that the board doesn’t know what it’s doing,” Jarosi said.
Jarosi said the closed search is the problem of the relationship between the board of trustees and faculty. Committee members voiced concerns about letters regarding the closed search going largely ignored by board chair David Grissom.
Black, a trustee, reminded the subcommittee that only Grissom speaks for the board.
“We’re not free agents,” she said.
Black said the forums are too important to hold back because of the “obstacle” of a closed search. She said she hopes true sincerity is being articulated.
Black said Grissom agreed to attend the forums and encouraged all board members to do the same.
Committee members agreed that information regarding the listening tours should be released this week.
Black received two possible dates for the tour, but needs board approval before announcing them.