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UNC System Presidential Search Committee reviews applications amid COVID-19 delays

Faculty Executive Committee
Due to delays in the UNC presidential search committee's progress in finding a new president, current president Bill Roper, pictured here at a Faculty Executive Meeting on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2019, will continue his stay as the Interim President of the UNC System.

The UNC System Presidential Search Committee met via conference call Monday afternoon to review applications and provide an update on its selection process for the next UNC System president.

Jason Tyson, director of media relations for the UNC System, said the process has been heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  

“During these challenging times, we’re continuing to make progress in our search for the next leader of our great System,” Wendy Murphy, committee co-chair, said. 

Tyson said at this point, the committee was supposed to be interviewing candidates individually, but because of the pandemic, they are still in the recruitment and advertising phase for the position.

Kimberly Strach, the committee’s director, reported that 36 candidates have submitted applications and documentation for the position. She said that the applicants come from across the country, and even a few from outside of the U.S.

After Strach’s report, the committee moved to a closed session to consider the applications.

Interim UNC System President Bill Roper was originally meant to leave his post at the end of June. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the search process and he is expected to continue in his position past the end of next month, according to NC Policy Watch. Roper assumed the position in 2018 after former President Margaret Spellings announced she would be stepping down. 

Tyson said the committee’s timeline is unclear at this point, with no indication of when they may be voting on a replacement. For now, they will continue accepting applications and reviewing them in closed session. 

Despite the delays, Tyson said that Roper is well-equipped to lead the System during this crisis. 

“Who better to have to lead us through this than Dr. Bill Roper?” Tyson said. “We couldn’t have asked for a more capable and qualified person.” 


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