Saturday, May 30, 2020

University Council votes on presidential search committee proposal

October 17, 2018
Members of the Presidential Search Committee gather with members of the Board of Trustees at the meeting on the update of the presidential search process at the Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 22, 2018.
Members of the Presidential Search Committee gather with members of the Board of Trustees at the meeting on the update of the presidential search process at the Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 22, 2018. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Half of the MSU Board of Trustees are on the presidential search committee, and, according to the Constitution of the State of Michigan, the final decision on the new president can only be made by the Board of Trustees. 

In standard MSU search committee practice, search committees typically do not include the final decision-maker, the University Council's proposal states. They are proposing that the presidential search committee follow this practice. 

The proposal was presented by Vice Chairperson Deborah Moriarty at the University Council meeting on Tuesday, where 94 university faculty members and students voted in agreement. There were no abstentions and no one voted against the proposal.                                                                                                                                                             

"So, the motion is to have the members of the Board of Trustees who are on the presidential search committee have voice but not vote when it comes to forwarding candidates," Moriarty said.

Before a president is chosen by the Board of Trustees, the search committee presents them with a list of candidates they've voted for that the Board ultimately chooses from. 

The trustees on the presidential search committee include co-chairs Melanie Foster and Dianne Byrum, Trustee Dan Kelly and Trustee Joel Ferguson. The University Council proposes it should be non-voting members of the search committee, but they should be voting members on the board at the end of the process when the final decision is made. 

The proposal will be sent to the Board of Trustees and every member of the presidential search committee.

"This is something to do with the process. It is our hope that the entire search committee says, 'yes, this is the way we should operate,' and that they will in fact operate that way," Moriarty said. 

The proposal said this procedure eliminates the "double voting" that goes against standard MSU search committee practice without taking away the voices of Foster, Byrum, Kelly and Ferguson or the responsibility of the entire Board of Trustees to choose the new president. 

The proposal also said it aims to reduce the concerns members of the MSU community have about "what looks to them like a conflict of interest". 

Currently, the presidential search committee is compiling notes from all of the input sessions to write the presidential position description. The position description will become the MSU president job posting and candidates will be able to apply around the second week of November.  

Identifying candidates and the initial interviews will begin later in November, and final interviews with the Board of Trustees are set to occur between February and May. 

The new president of MSU, chosen by the Board of Trustees, will be announced in June of 2019.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:38 p.m. to clarify that the University Council was the group which met.

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