NU Holds Private Meets With Candidates

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The University of Nebraska Presidential search committee met with candidates in Kansas City this week.

Some state news organizations are saying those meeting violate Nebraska’s Open Record Law. The law requires the name of all finalists interviewing for employment to be made public.

“Apparently the University of Nebraska thought the law didn’t apply to them or else they felt they could hold secret meetings in Kansas and the public would never know,” said Jack Gould with Common Cause.

The search committee is looking to replace retiring president L. Dennis Smith. An NU representative says the committee was in Kansas City only to get to know some of the candidates.

“I think most human resources people would define a job interview as a time when you sit down and answer questions about your background, your education and your capabilities to do the job. None of that is taking place in these social settings,” said Joe Rowson Director of Communication for NU.

The University says they are guarding the candidate’s privacy. Rowson said they will publicize the list of finalists.

“The people who are interested in these jobs are very frequently sitting presidents or chancellors. They have a Board of Regents or trustees that they have to answer to,” said Rowson.

Gould believes the names should be released regardless of the applicant’s current employment.

“I think these people from other institutions, if they’re going to come out and say I’m going to pack up and leave, they’re hurting the institution, so let’s be public about it,” said Gould.

Rowson expects a list of finalist by May 1.