BOT to search for interim president

The University Board of Trustees’ transition committee met via a telephone conversation to establish guidelines for the appointment of an interim University president Wednesday.

The committee decided to accept resumes from potential candidates for the position until Nov. 30.

For the potential candidates, a stipulation was set that whomever is accepted for the position of interim president will be ineligible to apply to be the permanent president of the University.

President Fred Gainous still has the opportunity to have his contract renewed pending a unanimous BOT vote during their scheduled December meeting.

Students and alumni said because the BOT has a history of split decisions, a unanimous vote is unlikely.

The history of split decisions led the BOT to initiate the transition committee and begin planning for the arrival of an interim president.

During the three-hour meeting, the criteria for what an interim president would need to work effectively were discussed.

“I think when we select an interim person, we should be able to hand them a notebook or book and say: these are the things we’ve been working on for the past three months, and you need to work on immediately,” Trustee Challis Lowe said.

The committee emphasized the necessity for stability of University operations during the transition period.

“I don’t want an uneasiness to settle where you feel that everything has to shut down,” Lowe added.

While they muddled through what information an interim president would need, the trustees did not focus on issues that may have initiated major changes.

Some trustees feared that major changes before the installment a of a permanent president would indicate an inability for the University to operate.

However, the transition committee noted the importance of filling vacant administrative posts have been budgeted for this fiscal year before the beginning of an interim president’s term.

Trustee R.B. Holmes Jr. indicated this was not an opportunity for the University to make a “wish list” of other positions that need to be filled.

The trustees asked Gainous to provide the committee with policy statements that would indicate the University’s current position on scholarship funding, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, contract building and staffing procedures.

The information from Gainous will be used to allow the interim president the opportunity to go directly into policy making.

“I think where we are as a committee is identifying those key issues,” Trustee Virgil Miller said.

The committee consists of eight of the 13 members of the BOT.

The committee intends to report its plans and progress to the full board during the BOT meeting on Nov. 10.

BOT Chairman James Corbin said resumes are due Nov. 30.

Contact Jason E. Hutchins at