University of Louisville board to keep presidential finalists co - WDRB 41 Louisville News

University of Louisville board to keep presidential finalists confidential

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University of Louisville board of trustees Chairman David Grissom, June 9, 2017 University of Louisville board of trustees Chairman David Grissom, June 9, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  The University of Louisville board of trustees plans to keep the names of candidates for the university presidency – even finalists who interview for the job – confidential as part of a strategy to attract the best applicants, board chairman J. David Grissom said Friday.

“The kind of person we are trying to attract to this position already has a really important job, and it will be our job to recruit that person away from wherever he or she is currently,” Grissom told reporters following a board meeting. “And that kind of person is not going to risk their careers by becoming a public figure during an interviewing process.”

But the leader of the faculty committee providing advice on the search called the policy “very troubling” and said it smacks of the same lack of transparency that doomed the administration of former U of L President James Ramsey.

Susan Jarosi, a professor of women’s and gender studies and art history, said it’s common for universities to ask finalists to meet with faculty, staff and students before the board makes the decision.

“When they are down to the best two or three candidates, there should be an understanding that your name will be released and you are coming to campus. People want to meet the best two or three candidates,” Jarosi said Friday.

The search for a permanent leader to replace Ramsey, who took a buyout in the summer of 2016, recently got underway with the hiring of consultant William Funk & Associates under a $170,000 contract.

Bill Funk, the principal of the Dallas-based search firm, told the board Friday that a new president could be named in the spring of 2018.

The board of trustees will make the decision without delegating any functions to a search committee.

Grissom stressed that the faculty, staff and students each have a seat on the 13-person board.

U of L interim President Greg Postel reiterated his interest in having the job permanently on Friday and said there are many approaches to confidentiality during high-profile searches.

“If you read the higher education literature you’ll see there are some open searches (and) there are some closed searches. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a best practice, but you see a little bit of everything and it’s frequently controversial,” he said.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2017 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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