University Senate calls meeting for president

Tim Caboni became WKU’s 10th president July 1. On his first workday, he ensured his tenure will consist of transparency and collaboration. Kansas University 

Monica Kast

The University Senate discussed the preferred candidate for university president and called for a special meeting to discuss the candidate after several forums during its first meeting of the spring semester. 

Senate Chair Kate Hudepohl discussed the candidate during her report to the senate. Hudepohl said she was contacted by Julia McDonald, assistant to the president, and  was told the senate would have the opportunity to meet with the preferred candidate Tim Caboni Wednesday. This will be a separate meeting from the faculty forum that will take place next week. 

“I felt like even though I was a little taken aback by the rushed nature … I still feel like it’s an opportunity,” Hudepohl said.

Hudepohl said she didn’t “know what the point is,” but still felt like it was “an opportunity to meet him.”

Hudepohl added that although this meeting will be specific for the senate to interact with Caboni, it will be an open meeting for anyone to attend.

Mac McKerral, journalism professor, spoke before the Board of Regents last semester in favor of an open presidential search. At the senate meeting, McKerral said he felt by continuing with a closed search, the Board of Regents had created a “template” that “will be followed for a long time.”

“I think the difficult thing, the challenge that we face, is that how much do we want to blame the new guy, rather than blame the old guys?” McKerral asked.

At the end of the meeting, a new order of business was introduced by Douglas Smith, sociology department head. Smith was serving as an alternate on Thursday for senator Jerry Daday.

Smith motioned the senate meet in a specially-called meeting next Thursday, “to discuss the presumptive candidate.”

The motion was seconded and passed, with the majority of senators saying they would be in attendance at the specially-called meeting. Hudepohl said she would work to find a space and time for next Thursday for the special called meeting.

Additionally, changes to Policy 1.1013 outlining consensual relations between faculty and students was approved, after discussion over changes in language in the policy. Patti Minter, chair of the faculty welfare and professional responsibilities committee, lead the discussion. Minter said the committee had worked on revising the policy for over a year and had discussed a “variety of wording.”

“Having looked at this for over a year now, we think this is the best way,” Minter said.

The changes were approved, although not unanimously.

Additionally, provost David Lee introduced new business regarding university distinguished professor selection and appointment. After discussion about introducing new steps to the process that would allow a professor to apply or be selected, the policy passed, although once  again not unanimously.

Student Regent Jay Todd Richey, in his report to the senate, discussed preferred candidate Caboni. Richey, who served on the presidential search committee, said he was “extremely proud of the quality of candidate that we got.”

“I would have infinitely preferred, personally, this to be open,” Richey said of the presidential search.

Richey also encouraged senators to attend the meetings next week and the faculty forums with Caboni in order to meet him.

“I hope you all will give Dr. Caboni a chance,” Richey said. “He’s excited to meet you all.” 

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.