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College Presidental Searches Still Public

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The search for university presidents will still be conducted in the sunshine, at least for another year. The Legislature failed to exempt the process from public records laws.

The bill would have protected applicants’ names, credentials and salaries. Supporters worry the best candidates don’t apply because they don’t want their bosses to know they’re looking elsewhere.

First Amendment Foundation president Barbara Petersen says the bill would have set a bad precedent.

“Why stop with just university presidents? Wouldn’t the same be true of school superintendents who are hired, or city managers or city attorneys? It was the Mount Everest of slippery slopes.”

Republican Senator Alan Hays of Umatilla sponsored the bill. It shielded the names of the finalists until 30 days before selection.