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The Daily Tar Heel

Chancellor List To Remain Secret

N.C. Central faculty are protesting Molly Broad's decision to keep chancellor names under wraps.

Faculty Senate Chairman George Conklin made a request to Broad in a letter Tuesday for the finalists to be introduced in the next Faculty Senate meeting, where an open forum would allow professors to question the finalists.

"Academic setting thrives on openness and discussion and consensus," said Conklin, also a member of the search committee.

"I do not feel that the committee has communicated well with the community as a whole."

Broad declined to attend the meeting with the finalists.

"When I met with the search committee, I made it very clear on the issue of confidentiality," Broad said. "It would be entirely inappropriate for us to spring this on the candidates now."

N.C. Central Board of Trustees Chairman William Smith said he would not support the publicizing of the three candidates.

"I respect the faculty's desire to know," Smith said. "We gave the candidates our word that it's going to be a confidential search, and I don't feel good going back on my word."

Conklin said the confidentiality rule was set before the search committee began the selection process and that the issue was never brought up thereafter.

But Conklin said the entire committee would be happy with any of the three finalists for chancellor.

"On the other hand, that doesn't mean that everybody will feel that way," he said. "Molly Broad could renegotiate with the candidates, and they could decide whether they want to go public or not."

An N.C. statute allows public institutions to close meetings where personnel decisions are discussed. The media has long pushed to get high-profile searches open, including the hunt that brought James Moeser to UNC-Chapel Hill. School officials, shielded by the N.C. law, say opening the searches could deter some candidates wary of displeasing their current institution.

Meredith and St. Augustine's Colleges, private institutions in Raleigh, have chosen to release finalists' names.

East Carolina University's Faculty Senate voted on a similar resolution at the start of its current chancellor search, but it failed.

N.C. Central Student Government Association President Timothy Peterkin, also a member of the search committee, said he respects the committee's rules but that the public would like to meet the finalists.

"There will not be a huge impact," he said. "But what impact there will be would be positive."

But Broad said that the impact would be negative for the candidates.

"We lose candidates if their names are public," she said. "It's very destabilizing for their campus once their colleagues know that they are applying."

Broad also said the search committee knew about the confidentiality rule before they met. "I presume (Conklin) was there when I was there in the meeting with the Board of Trustees," Broad said.

But Conklin maintains that the finalists' names should be released.

"The public's business should be conducted in public."

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The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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