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Search for David Boren's successor: Faculty Senate requests open forums with candidates in letter to Board of Regents

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Board of Regents

Chairman Clayton Bennett prepares to call the Board of Regents meeting to order March 5.

OU’s Faculty Senate has sent an open letter to the university’s Board of Regents to push for a more transparent presidential search and public access to candidates. 

The senate’s executive committee sent the letter March 5 after receiving no response from a private letter to the regents sent Feb. 5. The open letter says an open search and transparency about presidential candidates “is in the best interests of the Board, the next president, and the University.”

“... A closed search goes against basic principles of shared governance by denying the faculty, staff, students, and other dedicated members of the community the opportunity to ask questions and share opinions before the final decision is made,” the letter reads.

The previous open letter to the regents from OU faculty members suggested that the board hold open forums to allow the OU community to meet and evaluate candidates. The Faculty Senate’s letter also requests open public forums with the candidates, but says the senate is willing to develop alternate forms of communication and discussion that “do not compromise the candidates’ potential privacy concerns.”

“The faculty and staff have been resilient through hard times largely due to a reservoir of goodwill for the university,” the letter reads. “Open visits are crucial to creating much needed faculty, staff, and student confidence in both the process and the outcome — the next president will surely require widespread stakeholder support.” 

The Board of Regents will interview presidential candidates March 9 and 10 in closed executive sessions. The board received seven candidate recommendations from the presidential search committee in a March 5 executive session.

The Faculty Senate’s letter expresses hope for a working relationship with the regents as the search draws to a close. Read the entirety of the letter below:

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