The success of Kent State University’s recent presidential search is felt across the region, as Beverly Warren prepares to assume her new role (“Keep the search open,” editorial, April 24). News stories about the completed search process have misled the public’s perception of how and why trustees reached our decision.
Contrary to what some people may have read, no laws have been broken and no public records have been shredded in the presidential search. We followed an approach mirrored by other universities with consistent and successful results.
The university has released more than 500 pages of documents in response to records requests. All expenses have had appropriate administrative review and have been disclosed to the public.
To ensure we complied with all legal requirements, our general counsel instructed the board and the search committee about their duties and responsibilities under state law, all of which were followed scrupulously.
The trustees directed that this search should seek input from as many members of our community as possible. As a result, we invited leaders from academia, students, administration, alumni, and the community at large to participate in our 17-member presidential search committee.
The search committee brought great professionalism to the task. The group’s signing of a confidentiality agreement is considered a best practice in executive searches that allows for comfortable, open dialogue. Further, committee members can make or discard notes kept for their personal use, which are not a public record under Ohio law.
A review of similar searches and the advice of professionals overwhelmingly convinced the board that the quality of candidates would be directly related to the confidentiality afforded to their interest.
The trustees believe the quality of the outcome of the search is a testament to the deliberations and the process we followed in selecting Ms. Warren as our next great president. For that, I thank the search committee for its hard work and service.
JANE MURPHY TIMKEN
Board of Trustees
Kent State University