Education

UPDATED: Board of Trustees moves up vote on next OU president, finalists withdraw

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Written by Heather Willard

Heather Willard contributed reporting

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Editor’s Note: As of Feb. 9, Robert Frank is no longer in the running for Ohio University president. Frank withdrew his name from consideration in an email to the university.

The Ohio University Board of Trustees will vote to appoint the new president on Feb. 22 at the Dublin branch campus, rather than at its March meeting on the Athens main campus.

There will be a live web stream of the vote and announcement for anyone who wants to watch, Chair of the Board David Wolfort said in a statement.

The meeting will be held in Dublin because it is an easier, more central location for members of the board to gather, OU senior communications director Carly Leatherwood said in an email.

“There are no Trustees in this part of the state,” Glick said. “With the short meeting notice, Dublin was the location that maximized Trustee attendance.”

The Trustees want to announce the president as soon as possible, so it is not surprising members pushed up the vote from its original March date, Faculty Senate Chair Joseph McLaughlin said.

“They just wanted to give themselves lots of time to negotiate with people if they needed to, give people time if they needed time,” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the trustees met Jan. 31 in Dublin to deliberate the final candidates and likely made their decision then.

“The trustees actually have to come together to formally vote in a public place to appoint this person and give this person a contract,” McLaughlin said. “The fact that the date is two weeks from today suggests to me that that was the first date at which the candidate and the trustees could all get together in the same place to do this. I think they would have done this more quickly, but it was probably a scheduling issue.”

There are only two people left in the running for president: Robert Frank, the president of the University of New Mexico, and Duane M. Nellis, the former president of Texas Tech University.

During the open forums held in January, Nellis stood out from the other candidates through his experience with increasing international student populations and his strong support of tenure.

Frank also stressed his support of tenured professors and defended himself from questions on a report ordered by the UNM Board of Regents that said his treatment of his colleagues “may rise to the level of bullying,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The other two finalists announced their withdrawal from consideration this week, opting to stay in their current positions.

Pam Benoit will continue to serve as executive vice president and provost of OU, and Dean L. Bresciani will remain president of North Dakota State University. Both candidates notified the university of their decisions through email.

“There’s a whole protocol here where they give people the courtesy where rather than not being selected they get to withdraw,” McLaughlin said. “So everyone can pretend it was their choice and not the fact that they weren’t selected.”

President Roderick McDavis will step down Feb. 17, and interim president David Descutner will take over until the new president’s contract kicks in.

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Heather Willard

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