Students and faculty traded verbal jabs Friday, debating whether or not the university needs to conduct a nation-wide search for a permanent president.
At a series of stakeholder meetings meant to gather the CSU community’s input on the presidential search process, supporters of Interim President Tony Frank encouraged the CSU System Board of Governors Chair Doug Jones and newly appointed Chancellor Joe Blake to forgo a national search and name Frank CSU’s permanent president.
“What I’d like to see is someone who can earn the respect of various constituents both on and off campus. Tony Frank has been able to do that in a very short time,” said Richard Eykholt, the chair of the faculty counsel, stressing the importance of choosing someone who is committed to CSU and not merely looking for a steppingstone in their career.
“He has succeeded at the university more than anyone else has. We like him. We trust him,” said Barry Lewis, the accounting department chair, on behalf of his department.
Students echoed these sentiments.
“I really like Tony Frank. He relates well with students and also knows how to disagree professionally. He’s a good candidate. I endorse him,” said Tim Sellers, the student government chief of staff-elect.
However, not everyone supported appointing Frank just because he is already in office, and questions about equal opportunity arose.
“It’s obvious that there’s already someone in mind,” said one of the stakeholders who left before Collegian reporters could
get his name, referring to comments made in a previous Collegian article and statements made during the meeting.
“An open search needs to be done nationally. We don’t know who’s out there. This opportunity needs to be available to everyone . minorities, a woman.”
Though Jones said he is supportive of equal opportunity, he made clear that the BOG is not obligated to conduct an open search, and said the meeting is the first step in analyzing the situation to determine if a national search is necessary.
Ann Little, an associate professor of history, said she had concerns about spending the money on a national search.
“Looking outside during these economic times could be perilous,” Little said. “I believe it’s very important that the president has a degree that’s related to this position. We don’t want politicians or career stair climbers. We want someone who will be around for a long time.”
Other people commented about the high cost of a national search, saying it could waste time and money.
“Why are we looking to spend money on a search when we have the perfect candidate right here?” said Lise Youngblade, the department chair of human development and family studies.
“(Frank has) been here in a lot of capacities, and he’s humble, warm and caring. People want to work with him. That’s the selling point,” she said.
The meetings elicited eight hours of fully recorded input from the CSU community, in light of last week’s closed-door chancellor decision –/a process which two Colorado newspapers allege violated Colorado’s sunshine laws.
However,/some raised questions about the significance of the stakeholder meetings and wanted to know if the contributions from the community would be considered seriously.
“I wouldn’t consider going through this process without all of the community input. The chancellor feels the same way,” Jones said. “We’ll go through all the recordings, the notes and letters submitted to decide where to go from here.”
Jones also defended the decision to hold the stakeholder meetings on the Friday before final exams, saying that between the chancellor search and a number of board meetings scheduled during the week, Friday was the best day to hold the meetings before the end of the semester.
“We’re here to do what’s good, right and what’s best for the institution. Our goal is to hear from as many people as possible,” he said. “From my heart of hearts, if anyone one is doubting me at all, they don’t know Doug Jones.”
There is no designated time frame to make a decision on the president and Jones said that the board would allow as much time as needed.
Input can still be submitted via the Board Web site at http://csusystem.edu/pages/csu-president-comment-form.asp.
Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.