COLUMBIA — The faculty, students and taxpayers of MU and the state of Missouri are owed an in-depth explanation of the reason for the secrets surrounding the hiring of the UM System president.
This explanation is owed to all of us by the governor, the curators and our local chancellor, as well as the faculty councils within the UM System. Each of these entities ought to be held accountable for the its participation or lack of participation in this process.
They all are accountable in some way for the lack of transparency surrounding the search process, including the search committee membership and the decisions surrounding transparency.
The search process should not model questionable behavior for students and taxpayers. The curators are endowed with the public’s resources and trust. Their behaviors should be transparent.
The search committee's charge and the rationale for that charge ought to be explained. The steps taken to fulfill that charge ought to be explained.
The range and number of potential candidates ought to be shared. The narrowing process to achieve a list of finalists ought to be explained.
The weeding process that led to the selection of the president should be explained. The decision to choose a corporate administrator rather than an academic administrator should be explained.
If this decision was based upon successes achieved by the previous successes of a non-academic administrator, those successes ought to be made known in the spirit of intellectual candor.
Scrutiny of decision making is an inherent element that is prized at universities. That process is assumed to be instrumental to educating future leaders.
Secret behaviors lead to notions of deviousness, which should not be considered at the beginning of new president's tenure.
It is the responsibility of us all to remove this veil of questions by giving the appropriate explanations that will allow the conduct of the university’s mission with as much integrity imbued in it as possible.
William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU.