FacSen adopts resolution for transparent presidential search

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Led by Deni Galileo, biology professor, the resolution was introduced at last month’s meeting and is co-sponsored by 11 senators.


In light of the Faculty Senate’s concerns about the complete confidentiality of the identities of the remaining five or six presidential candidates, a resolution was passed calling for more transparency in the presidential search process Monday night.

With a vote of 38 senators in favor and five opposed, the resolution specifically requests the search committee to determine which short-listed candidates would participate in open public forums. It requires that the search committee invite at least three—preferably more—willing candidates before the next president is selected.

Led by Deni Galileo, biology professor, the resolution was introduced at last month’s meeting and is co-sponsored by 11 senators. It is also supported by the American Association of University Professors, Galileo said.

Galileo said he hopes the long-standing ideal of reasonable openness in administrative searches is upheld.

“Such extremely limited input from faculty and students cannot exist when choosing who will represent our university,” Galileo said.

Galileo said the position of a university president is a public one and the community should have an opportunity to see who their next leader will be.

Two members of Delaware’s House of Representatives, John Kowalko and Paul Baumbach, also attended the meeting. Kowalko spoke out against the Board of Trustees’ disregard of the university being a public institution.

Kowalko said that as an institution that receives public funding, it is the university’s duty to maintain a level of transparency.

“There’s an obligation to the taxpayers who contribute $200 million to UD,” Kowalko said.

Joshua Zide, material sciences and engineering professor, who voted against the resolution, expressed his concerns with the resolution’s ability to convince the Board of Trustees to agree to more transparency.

“We keep yelling until we get our way like children having a temper tantrum,” Zide said. “Continuing to tell the trustees our opinion on this issue undermines our future credibility and makes it easier for them to ignore us in the future.”

Robert Opila, Faculty Senate president and material sciences and engineering professor, said the Board of Trustees reserves the right to choose the mechanism by which the university president is chosen.

Opila said opening up the currently confidential search process would undermine its integrity, giving the remaining candidates an unfair advantage.

“We would have to declare this a failed search and open up a new one,” Opila said.

In response to the question surrounding the integrity of the search, communications professor John Courtright said its legitimacy is already in question.

“The Board of Trustees is omnipotent, but that doesn’t mean they are right,” Courtright said. “The integrity of the search is already gone and will further diminish if we get an announcement in February saying, ‘Here’s your president—take it or leave it.’”

Chris Lucier, vice president for enrollment management, revealed the university’s enrollment target for the upcoming academic year to be 3,950 students with between 80 and 100 of them being in the World Scholars program.

Lucier said the university is becoming more selective—with a projected 55 to 57 percent selectivity rate for next year—yet the yield percentage is still increasing. He said the enrollment model has been adjusted to make sure over-enrollment doesn’t happen again.

“If we go above 4,100 students next year, we will have a serious issue with housing for new and returning students,” Lucier said.

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