KENT: About 30 faculty in the Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication are urging university leadership to produce all records surrounding the secret search for the school’s next president.
About half of them also took out a full-page ad in today’s student-run Daily Kent Stater with the same message under the headline, “We’re embarrassed.”
The administration’s actions teach “the wrong lesson to students. It also sends the wrong message to our friends, our alumni and Ohio taxpayers.”
Karl Idsvoog, associate professor in Kent State’s JMC, said the resolution is addressed to the officials “who don’t care about the importance of transparency in our public institutions” and the ad is addressed to those who do care about the issues — in other words students and the public.
“My hope is that news of this goes everywhere,” he said. “This is an important issue that needs to be addressed. The issue is government secrecy at any level.”
KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said officials “are now in the process of reviewing the correspondence.”
The Beacon Journal has reported over the past several weeks that KSU signed a contract with a private firm that allowed the firm to determine which records would be public.
Storbeck Pimentel and Associates directed a seven-month search that led to the appointment of Beverly Warren, provost of Virginia Commonwealth University, in January.
Despite repeated requests, KSU has refused to provide complete documentation of how it spent at least $250,000 in taxpayer money for chauffeurs, airfare, a weekend stay at the Cleveland Intercontinental Hotel for about 30 people, dinners and other expenses related to the search.
In addition, search committee members say KSU shredded records and required them to sign confidentiality agreements in an effort to maintain secrecy.
Meanwhile, the University of Akron and Youngstown State are conducting open searches for president. They are releasing names and resumes of applicants and expect to have new presidents in place on July 1.
KSU faculty who signed the letter include associate professor Jan Leach, a former editor and vice president at the Akron Beacon Journal; and Tim Smith, professor emeritus and a former managing editor of the Beacon Journal.
The student newspaper’s website can be found at www.kentwired.com.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3729.