Statement from the Board of Regents regarding search for the next president

Aug. 6, 2008

Statement from the Board of Regents with respect to the process involved in the search for the next president for Memorial University of Newfoundland:

• The Board of Regents realized at the outset that an international search for a university president is much more than just the evaluation of candidates who are highly accomplished, successful individuals with significant national and international reputations.
• Attracting the right candidates for consideration and developing their interest in leading Memorial University is a significant part of the Search Committee’s challenge.
• Just as candidates promote their qualifications, strengths and vision, the search committee is charged with promoting to them the strengths and potential of Memorial.  Because of Memorial’s importance to the province, the Board of Regents has to emphasize to all candidates how Memorial ties in to the social, cultural and economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador.
• Premier Williams did not impose himself into the process. Early in the search process the Premier indicated to the Chairman of the Board of Regents that, if the university felt it would be helpful, the Premier, if asked, would be willing to meet prospective candidates to promote the province, to emphasize the importance of Memorial to the province and to confirm the government’s strong commitment to university education in Newfoundland and Labrador.
• The Chairman of the Board of Regents brought the suggestion to the Search Committee and the Board of Regents, both of which felt that this involvement by the Premier was a positive step. The decision to proceed with these meetings was made by the Search Committee supported by the Board.
• The candidates on the short list were informed that such an informational and promotional meeting would take place.
• When the time came for the candidates to have these meetings, the Premier was unavailable and he asked the Minister of Education to step in.
• Subsequent to those meetings, government informed the Search Committee that the candidates were not acceptable and asked the Search Committee to expand its search and develop other names for consideration.
• This was a surprise to the Search Committee which had identified Dr. Eddy Campbell as its preferred candidate.
• The Board feels that there was no inappropriate interference by government or attempt to influence the work of the Search Committee until government informed the Board that the candidates were unacceptable prior to a formal recommendation of a preferred candidate being made.
• These events have caused a significant delay in the work of the Search Committee.
• Memorial continues to be ably led by Dr. Eddy Campbell, as acting president and vice-chancellor. Dr. Campbell is a great leader and an internationally acclaimed scholar. He has the full support and encouragement of the Board of Regents. He has done a superb job in leading the university through the past several months and inaugurating the activities of Memorial’s new strategic plan; a plan he played a lead role in developing.


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