Record-Courier Editorial: New search for Kent State president must be public

The looming retirement of Kent State University President Beverly Warren impacts many people in many different ways. 

Students wonder if their chosen school’s next leader will be as focused on their needs. Administrators surely are curious to see how well they mesh with the new president’s administrative style and priorities. And Kent community leaders and businesses surely wonder if they’ll see the same level of town-gown cooperation that’s been evident in recent years. 

Quite simply, the next president of Kent State University — with its direct $1 billion in economic impact — matters to students, employees, alumni and nearby residents. And the appointment will come as the number of high school graduates and international students will continue to shrink, greatly increasing competition for enrollment. 

That’s why it’s critical for Kent State’s Board of Trustees to fully commit to an open and public search for the university’s next leader when they convene Dec. 5. 

While Warren’s performance the past five years has generally been lauded by students and key stakeholders, the secretive process trustees used to hire her in 2014 was a disgrace and affront to open government. 

Warren never stepped on campus until the day she was introduced. Her job interview before a committee of students, administrators and stakeholders sworn to secrecy took place in a Cleveland hotel. And the university rebuffed numerous attempts by student and professional media to obtain records of the search conducted by an expensive private firm.  (Read more…)