LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Promising leadership with honesty and transparency, Dr. Ricky Jones said he wants to be the next president of the University of Louisville.

And Jones, a full professor and chair of Pan African Students at U of L, said it's neither a joke nor a publicity stunt.

"I'm absolutely serious," he said. "I am applying for the presidency solely because the board of trustees is endeavoring to make this search secret."

Jones recently announced via Twitter that he's applying for a new job.

"I was nominated by someone, but I was going to apply anyway," he said.

Last week, a Dallas-based firm hired to conduct the search for the U of L president contacted Jones.

"So because of the nomination, the search firm contacted me," Jones said.

Several months ago, university board trustees said they would keep the names of candidates for the presidency confidential as part of a strategy to attract the best people. But instead, the move has attracted criticism from faculty, staff and students.

"I think the University of Louisville has had enough secrecy," Jones said. "It is very dangerous to allow the privileged class, the elites, to make decisions without being questioned."

Jones said U of L is a public school, and the search for a new leader should be public.

"Why are these people so committed to doing things secretly?" he asked.

The university has been shrouded in controversy in recent years, which has led to some high-profile terminations. Jones said the board and next president should focus on rebuilding.

"Rebuild trust, transparency and deliver truth," he said. "I think our alums, our supporters, our donors ... our friends will come home."

He is one of the longest-serving chairs of one of the largest and most lucrative black studies departments in the country.

"The first Black Studies Ph.D. in the south ... so we have done incredibly well," Jones said.

Despite his department's success, Jones doesn't see himself as a boss.

"I see myself as an advocate," he said. "I see myself as a partner with my faculty."

But also sees himself with a real shot at the job.

"I'm approaching this just like I approach life," he said. "You might win, you might lose, but you don't do either one if you don't try."

Jones said if he gets the job, he will review every salary above $250,000 and address the discrepancy in pay between some coaches and associate professors.

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