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Legislation Making Public University Presidential Searches Private Passes First Stop

A building on Florida State University campus.
Brandon Wason

An effort to shield public college and university presidential searches from the public is back again. This year’s proposal would keep private the names of applicants until the top three finalists have been selected. Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) says the current process scares away qualified candidates.

“If you have to go and tell your employer or worse your employer finds out on some newspaper or blog that definitely will have a chilling effect on your willingness to apply for a top university," said Brandes.

Those opposing the bill say that Florida currently attracts top-notch candidates and that a president of a multi-million-dollar institution should be prepared to be judged by the public. There are others who worry that a search done in secrecy could lead to insiders getting the jobs.