Michigan editor disturbed by closed search





\nMICHIGAN - For reporters at Eastern Michigan University's\nEastern Echo, the state supreme court's June decision to\nclose a public university's presidential search proceedings will\nhave an immediate impact.

Now EMU's candidates for university president too will remain\na mystery until the Board of Regents' choice is set in stone.\nAnd then it will be too late to voice any objections.

"The general public is going to know nothing about this\nuntil [he or she] is chosen," said Emily Hamlin, editor in\nchief of the Echo. She added that the board of regents\nhad planned to hold an open presidential search before the June\n15 court ruling.

Since the court decided in Federated Publications v. Michigan\nState University Board of Trustees that open searches were\nnot required by the state open meeting law (See above), EMU's\nBoard of Regents seems to have followed suit, by closing its search.

But the board has been somewhat accommodating, according to\nHamlin. It will publish a newsletter throughout the process; although\nthe newsletter will not include the candidates' names, it will\nlist the number of applicants.

"This is more than what we thought we were going to get,"\nHamlin said.

Hamlin said that certain faculty, staff and representatives\nof student organizations will be invited to interview the final\ncandidates.

"It will be open to a select few," she said.

Hamlin added that she would like to see a search that involved\nthe taxpayers, parents, students and university supporters.

"It's what the public deserves," she said.

Lisa Mikalonis, an attorney for the Michigan Press Association,\nagreed. She added that the EMU board's decision would weigh heavily\nin the way that future searches are conducted at Michigan's public\nuniversities.

"All the universities will be watching to see what they\ndo," she said.

The presidential search committee currently consists of four\nregents, one alumni, one community member, one faculty member,\none staff member and one student.

Phillip Incarnati, chairman of the board of regents and chairman\nof the search committee, did not return a call for comment.\n


Fall 1999, reports