If the choice of Beverly Warren to lead Kent State University was a smart one, matching carefully her skills to the university’s needs, another aspect of the selection process has been troubling. In particular, the search lacked transparency, leaving the public in the dark about who might fill a public position with influence across the region.
Now, as reported on Saturday by Carol Biliczky, a Beacon Journal staff writer, the university is compounding the problem, running counter to Warren’s pledges about openness and collaboration. In response to public records requests, just a partial picture is emerging of the search committee’s work in the public’s name.
Preliminary reports indicate the university spent $190,000 over nine months, but that accounting does not include airfare, mileage and most hotel stays by candidates. In some instances, names were not attached to room charges that were part of the search.
The continued secrecy is indefensible. The university spent public money looking for its new president, and now the public deserves all the details, including candidate applications.
To do less invites questions about what the university wishes hide. Kent State did well with an inclusive search committee, tapping the surrounding community for input. Now it must be inclusive about how the decision was reached.