Board of Regents to discuss candidates in closed session

The Herald Staff

The Board of Regents will have a closed meeting at a Nashville, Tennessee hotel on January 8 and 9 to discuss applicants for WKU’s next president.

The two-day meeting is one of several meetings to discuss the selection of the next university president. In past meetings, however, only members of the presidential search committee were present. During this meeting, the six regents on the search committee will be joined by the other five members of the board.

Many of the meetings where applicants were discussed were closed to the public and this has been a point of contention between board members and the WKU community.

The closed presidential search has led to discussion between students, faculty and staff as they will not know who is being considered for the position. A closed search would prevent the WKU community from interacting with any of the candidates before the official announcement of the new president.

In late October, the University Senate approved a resolution to be sent to the board calling for an open search in order to ensure the best candidate is chosen for the position.

“Such an outcome is only possible if the decision-making process is transparent and open to the greatest possible input from a diverse array of community members, not solely the product of a select group operating exclusively behind closed doors,” the resolution read.

Regent Philip Bale, head of the presidential search committee, said at a Board of Regents meeting in December the board understands the WKU communitys’ desire for an open search.

“I think our board, and certainly the search committee, want to be as transparent as we can be, and yet we have to recognize that some of the individuals do have situations that require greater levels of confidentiality,” Bale said.

In a previous Herald article, faculty regent Barbara Burch said many of the candidates had made it clear they want a closed search. A closed search would protect the confidentiality of candidates who may be contenders for other positions.

Bale said the entire board, not the search committee, must decide if the search will be open or closed. The Board of Regents, however, has eleven members, six of whom are on the search committee.

Thus far, the board has not voted on opening or closing the search, and no official announcement regarding the search’s status has been made. The board has one more scheduled meeting before the beginning of March, the deadline the board set for selecting a new president.

This upcoming meeting will be held at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. It will begin at noon on January 8 and at 8 a.m. on January 9.

The Herald will update this story as more information is made available.