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University Presidential Searches Could Be Behind Closed Doors

January 19th, 2022 by Mike Vasilinda

The next president of the University of Florida could be chosen partially out of the sunshine. Legislation removing presidential searches from public scrutiny got approval from its second Senate committee today. It came after the FSU faculty president Matthew Lata told lawmakers the current process works well.

“So this bill is another in a series of solutions looking for problems. Searches for president are too important to be done in secret.  We don’;t want to be presented with a candidate selected quietly by a highly paid search firm, or political faction and essentially approved behind the scenes.”

Sponsor Jeff Brandes says the openness likely resulted in an unqualified candidate being named to head USF in Tampa two years ago.

“The goal here is to let search committees get the broadest pool of applicants. Uninhibited, that they can possibly look at. And yes, Florida State and UF have had great presidents in the last two years.  But IU was you know who hasn’t? USF, who’s president turned over in two years. Because why? Potentially because they didn’t’;t get the broadest pool of applicants looking at them.” 

The legislation does delay any final selection for 21 days after the finalists are announced.

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