Board hastily forms selection committee

Editorial by Kernel staff. E-mail

When UK President Lee Todd announced his decision to step down, word spread quickly. The first question arose — who would succeed Todd and how would that person be selected? Soon after, the plan for a presidential search committee was revealed.

The committee is comprised of UK faculty, staff and students who will work together throughout the selection process.

According to an Oct. 4 Kernel article, a student selection committee, made up of Student Government officers and other organizations, would nominate three undergraduate students and three graduate students. The Board of Trustees would then select one graduate student and one undergraduate student from each.

But when an Oct. 13 Kernel article cited the presidential committee selections, not everyone was impressed.

One qualm was the seeming coincidence that the graduate student selected for the committee was current SG President Ryan Smith. Considering more than 26,000 students are enrolled at the university, it’s ironic he would be one of the final candidates.

However, what the opposition must consider is if Smith will provide valuable feedback to the search committee. As SG president, Smith has already built rapport with Todd, the board and SG, so he already has a working knowledge of what qualities the next president should possess to best serve the campus community.

Arguably the more noteworthy point about the committee’s recruitment is the quick turnaround deadline for student applications.

Students who may have otherwise considered applying to the committee were given inadequate notice beforehand. Although those involved in SG and other school organizations may have more interactions with school officials, that doesn’t mean other students don’t deserve a say in how their university’s major decisions are made.

Maybe this hastiness was intentional, too, though.

Britt Brockman, chairman of the Board of Trustees, created a committee that will work under an ambitious timetable. Perhaps the student representative nominations were meant to follow that same sense of urgency.

Yes, Brockman and others must work fast to select the best successor to Todd, but they must also consider that a rushed decision is rarely the best decision.

The committee selections are good choices as far as gender, racial and geographical diversity, but the next UK president needs to be a figure who reflects this not only on paper, but also in actions.

He or she must have a clear and applicable plan to step in where Todd is leaving. The next president must cater to student, faculty and staff concerns, provide answers and know how to confront the current economic situation to keep

UK on the right track academically. Ideally, the president will naturally transition into the role, all the while aware of the academic productivity clock he or she will be up against.

The search committee has a weighty decision ahead, but it should not compromise quality. The Kernel will meet with Todd and Provost Subbaswamy in the weeks ahead to maintain a productive dialogue.