Archive for Friday, September 16, 1994

REGENTS MAY RECONSIDER FINALIST PLEDGE

September 16, 1994

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People who believe announcement of finalists would discourage the best candidates for the KU chancellorship may receive their wish that the names be kept secret.

The Kansas Board of Regents may retract a promise to publicly disclose the names of five finalists for Kansas University chancellor.

In response to complaints about candidate confidentiality, regents may take a second look at their decision to identify finalists that will be recommended to the board by a KU search committee in December.

"It's not etched in stone," Stephen Jordan, the board's executive director and a search committee member, said Thursday about the disclosure pledge.

He said the 17-member chancellor search committee would discuss the matter during a meeting today at Adams Alumni Center.

Committee members also intend to write a position description for the job of chancellor and discuss the possibility of mounting a more aggressive appeal for candidates.

Jordan said regents had heard from people who believe announcement of finalist's names would discourage the best candidates from allowing their names to go forward to the board.

On the other hand, he said, just as many people believe it would be in the public's interest to know the finalists so citizens could be assured the search process culminated in selection of the best chancellor.

"In my view, the board's decision is a good faith effort to ... accommodate these competing perspectives," Jordan said.

T.P. Srinivasan, a search committee member and head of KU's faculty senate, said he wouldn't support reversal of the disclosure vow unless the chancellor search attracted an insufficient number of qualified candidates.

He said about 50 people had entered the candidate pool. The search committee chairman, Frank Becker of El Dorado, had thought as many as 200 might apply.

"The pool of applicants is not overwhelming," Srinivasan said. "We need to at least double it."

This high-stakes search for a new chancellor became necessary when Gene Budig resigned in July to become president of baseball's American League.

Del Shankel, professor of microbiology, is interim chancellor.

Today's meeting is the search committee's second. At the initial gathering, the committee agreed to cut off nominations Oct. 15, select semifinalists Nov. 19-20 and pick finalists by Dec. 15.

The Board of Regents intends to interview finalists in January and hire a new chancellor in February, Jordan said.

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