WSU presidential candidates to visit campus

Finalists in the Weber State University presidential search, whose names will be released Thursday, will come to campus on Monday to meet with groups representing WSU students, faculty, staff and administration.

The groups will comprise about 20 individuals, whose names will also be released Thursday, selected by the members of the Presidential Search Committee, according to Cameron Martin, associate commissioner for economic development in higher education. Martin said the list of group members is still being finalized, since some people the search committee recommended cannot commit a full day to meeting with finalists.

Andrew Gardiner, the WSU student body president, said the group representing students will consist of the six WSU Student Association vice presidents, 14 student senators and himself.

“They’ll be meeting with the candidates and sharing their observations of those candidates with the Board of Regents through this process,” Martin said.

Each candidate will meet with each of the four groups in different rooms of the Shepherd Union Building. Martin said a representative from the Commissioner of Higher Education’s Office will sit in on each meeting while the candidate presents to the group. After the candidate finishes and leaves, the representative will ask the group members to share their impressions and pros and cons of that candidate. The representative from the commissioner’s office will take notes and repeat the pros and cons back to the group for clarification. Then, Tuesday morning, the representative will present the group’s comments to the Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees chair and vice chair.

“The groups are not going to vote yes or no on any candidate,” Martin said. “The representatives from the commissioner’s office are the neutral individuals because you could easily have someone on campus who’s for or against something or someone. They will deliver the report they get from the group directly to the regents.”

Gardiner said the groups will have a huge say in who the regents choose.

Martin said issuing the names of the group members and having each group meet with the finalists is part of the presidential search policy to promote campus involvement, transparency and accountability.

“We want people to know who these representatives in the groups are; it’s no big secret,” Martin said. “That way, if people know something about a candidate or have an opinion, they can tell a person in the group before the meetings Monday and those group members can better represent them.”

In addition to talking to a representative, other WSU community members can send an e-mail directly to the Board of Regents with comments regarding the search at and under the heading “Public Comment.”

“In the Board of Regents meeting Tuesday, we will prepare copies of every e-mail sent to us regarding each of the candidates,” Martin said.

Martin said that only as of Tuesday night did the timeline for the release of the names of the finalists and group members become finalized. However, he said, there could be a wild card between now and Monday.

“I can’t even begin to say how fluid this process is,” Martin said. “We’re running a transparent process, but we value the confidentiality of the finalists, because they might realize ‘what they need I can’t bring to the table’ and withdraw at this point.”

Pamela Silberman, media relations liaison for Higher Education Utah, said the logistics of getting all the finalists, some of whom will have to fly in from out of state, to campus on the same day could also possibly delay the process.

“Everyone wants to keep this process moving and finish it up as soon as possible,” Silberman said. “The logistics are sometimes more complicated than the desire to move forward, though.”