Presidential nominee(s)

Board of Regents must nominate more than one presidential candidate.

by Editorial board

Board of Regents Chairman Clyde Allen told Minnesota Public Radio on Friday that the board might choose to nominate only one finalist in its search for a new University of Minnesota president. He said the regents would do so if they found a finalist “head and shoulders above everyone else.”

Should the board follow through and nominate only one person, theyâÄôll be skirting both the Minnesota Constitution and the UniversityâÄôs faculty, staff and students. Following the closed-door selection of University President Bob Bruininks in 2002, several news organizations, including the Minnesota Daily, sued the University, demanding it release the names of other finalists. The state Supreme Court ruled the University had to do so. The board, legally, can nominate only one finalist, but to do so would be a disappointing maneuver around an order meant to increase dialog during the most important transitional periods at the University.

Worse, the board would be betraying the University community, whom the regents must be most concerned with defending. Having only one finalist would limit the publicâÄôs ability to differentiate between the candidatesâÄô policy positions and leadership styles at a time when both are more important than ever. Public dialog will help community members choose a leader they can support and demonstrate which candidate is best able to interact with the University at large. ThatâÄôs the presidentâÄôs most important task.

We understand the UniversityâÄôs desire to protect the identity of the candidates, especially if doing so will bring in more qualified applicants. But the Board of Regents should nominate more than one presidential finalist so the community can help decide if someone truly is “head and shoulders” over everyone else.