Lillis: New presidential hunt plan needed

September 12, 2014 / Phil Lesch

The Register Guard
September 12th, 2014

Saying the University of Oregon requires a different kind of presidential search this time, Board of Trustees Chairman Chuck Lillis has advanced a search plan that he wrote and that reserves broad powers for himself — and a select group of others.

Lillis gave himself the authority to conduct the search with an “assist” from a 14-member committee weighted with trustees and administrators.

A second 12-member committee that includes some UO students and office workers will be allowed to provide “relevant perspectives and insights,” according to Lillis’ plan, which he unveiled Thursday at a trustees meeting in Eugene.

Lillis included a “code of conduct” that prohibits anybody but himself — and the chairwoman of the “assist” committee — to comment publicly on the presidential search, not even on the search timeline.

Lillis alone will be allowed to rank and even eliminate finalists, according to the plan he wrote.

By law, however, any presidential hire would need the approval of the 13-member, governor-appointed UO Board of Trustees.

After some tinkering, the trustees approved Lillis’ plan 12-1 on Thursday.

Lillis’ plan is a sharp departure from the way presidential searches were conducted when the university was a part of the state government. In July, the university became an independent public body.

In the last two searches — in 2008 and 2011 — the state appointed broadly representative search committees of 21 to 25 members, who shared the responsibility of identifying, vetting, interviewing and forwarding candidates.

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