Editorial Board: Spring 2020 stories to watch

By: Dallas Thompson, The Badger Herald

UW System President search

The story:

In early November 2019, Vice President of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Michael Grebe announced members of the Search and Screen Committee tasked with identifying a successor to President Ray Cross. The search committee includes four regents, a student regent, a former regent, two chancellors and a provost. There has been an uproar over the unusual and precedent-breaking composition of the committee.

And for good reason — there is no faculty nor academic staff on the committee. The only student is representing the Board of Regents, not students. Even if he admirably tries to do both, it cannot be denied that there is a conflict of interest there. It would seem that the three biggest and principal groups of each university — faculty, academic staff and students — are being ignored.

“The very people who would benefit most from having a voice at the table — faculty, staff and students — are the ones deliberately being excluded,” State Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point said in a letter to the committee. “Sitting in a closed-door room as part of the search and screen committee going through resumes, going through interviews, is very different than a listening session where everyone gets to say a few words.”

What to watch for:

At the moment the Board of Regents is attempting to appease all those it has shunned from the process by holding listening sessions. It is important to note when these sessions are, how they are conducted and if the concerns expressed by stakeholders are being adequately addressed by the search committee. If they are not, one can expect to see further animosity between the Board of Regents and the wider UW System.