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MSU faculty leaders want public meeting with presidential finalist

November 17, 2023
<p>University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. Photo courtesy of UNC Health.</p>

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. Photo courtesy of UNC Health.

Leaders of Michigan State University's faculty senate have asked for a public question and answer session with the sole finalist for the university's presidency, the current University of North Carolina Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. 

After his candidacy was revealed by a State News report, they sent a letter sent to the Board of Trustees on Friday morning pitching a 90-minute Zoom webinar with Guskiewicz where faculty and students can ask him questions.

The board has proposed the meeting to Guskiewicz and is waiting on his response, faculty senate Chair Jack Lipton said Friday afternoon.

The letter is signed by Lipton, along with faculty senate Vice Chair Rebecca Malouin and three at-large members. Their proposal is also endorsed by the organizing committee for the proposed Union or Tenure Stream Faculty, which began a public union push earlier this month.

The letter says they are also hoping to get the event "co-sponsored" by MSU's undergraduate and graduate student governments. 

The presidential search that resulted in Guskiewicz's candidacy was conducted in complete secrecy. The board committed to only announcing a final choice, leaving the candidate and finalists out of public view.

However, Guskiewicz's identity was publicized by The State News Wednesday evening.

In a letter alerting faculty to the proposed public session, the faculty leaders said the report's shattering of the search's secrecy "presents an opportunity for Spartans to engage with the potential president before a decision is made."

"Now that his candidacy is public, we hope that Dr. Guskiewicz and our faculty, students and staff will be able to have a constructive dialogue, and ensure our priorities are aligned before the Board of Trustees" makes the final selection, the letter said.

Guskiewicz was one of two finalists being considered by the board. The other, the University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy, withdrew from consideration after learning his identity would not remain secret.

That leaves Guskiewicz as the sole finalist, though it's unclear if it makes him president.

Guskiewicz said in a statement to his campus Thursday that he is "weighing" the MSU job.

MSU board chair Rema Vassar and university spokesperson Emily Guerrant have both declined to comment on Guskiewicz's candidacy and the board's decision.

The board has long committed to making the final decision by the Thanksgiving holiday next week.

The faculty letter to the board volunteers the faculty senate's meeting Tuesday afternoon as a potential time for the session with Guskiewicz.

Though, it also says that "being mindful of what we are asking of a sitting Chancellor of another university, we are flexible on timing" as long as the board doesn't make Guskiewicz an offer first.

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