In the face of mounting opposition to a closed search for the University of Louisville’s next president, the school’s board doubled down on its decision Monday.
Susan Jarosi, president of the U of L American Association of University Professors, opened discussion on the topic during a meeting Monday with a review of 18 letters she said constituents sent to the board. Jarosi said there have been missteps in the search so far, warning the decision to keep the search closed would be divisive.
She asked that the board speak with the university community about the search.
“This is your opportunity to speak to us, meaning everyone here, about your thoughts on this process because we’ve heard so little from you,” Jarosi said. “A lot of faculty are asking what a listening tour means if we send 18 letters to you and we don’t receive a response or an acknowledgement or response. Are you really listening?”
Some board trustees echoed Jarosi’s plea for an open search process, including Ronald Wright and Interim Provost Dale Billingsley.
But Board Chair David Grissom said the search would remain closed.
“While we have received substantial communications from the faculty in opposition to this process, we continue to believe this process will produce the best possible candidates,” Grissom said, reading from a hand-written statement. “The closed search process is best practice and is most likely to produce the best possible man or woman to be our next president.”
Grissom said Bonita Black, the trustee charged with coordinating the presidential search, would discuss the process with William Funk & Associates to find a compromise between opening and closing the search.
The deadline for applicants was extended to January, but the board said the soft deadline is Dec. 1. Grissom declined to answer how many candidates are vying for the spot.
Interim President Greg Postel confirmed that he has submitted his name for the position. U of L Pan-African Studies Professor Ricky Jones tweeted Monday that he was also considering applying for university president.
Listening tours to gather thoughts on the next president from the university community are expected to take place in January.