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In divided vote, McGinity named UW president
Dick McGinity

In divided vote, McGinity named UW president at least to 2016

Jan 17, 2014 - By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Eschewing a formal search and its own procedures, a divided University of Wyoming Board of Trustees on Thursday promoted Dick McGinity to president of the state's only university.

McGinity, who had been serving as interim president since Dec. 6, agreed to a contract that expires June 30, 2016, and pays him $375,000 a year. He becomes UW's 25th president.

Trustees hope McGinity can get the school's administrative house in order after it was thrown into disarray during President Bob Sternberg's short tenure. Sternberg resigned Nov. 14 after less than five months on the job and after much of the university's top leadership, including the provost, resigned, retired or were forced out.

The trustees made the decision to appoint McGinity president on a 9-3 vote following more than four hours of closed-door deliberations.

Trustees President Dave Bostrom said he was confident that McGinity would bring stability and lead the university forward.

"We are in extraordinary times now, and we could not spend the amount of time necessary to begin a search, which normally run for six months to a year, and have this university without leadership," Bostrom said.

He said there wasn't any discussion of conducting a formal search or whether one would be done during the roughly 30 months of McGinity's contract.

Trustee Warren Lauer, who voted against the appointment of McGinity, said he was troubled by how the board went about making the move.

Lauer said McGinity's appointment was handled in a way that was "so unusual and so out of what good process and procedure" should be in vetting and selecting a president.

Faculty senate chairman Colin Keeney said he didn't think the board's decision would sit well with faculty because the trustees ignored their own policy, which requires that faculty and staff be part of the process of selecting a president.

"That solves the open vs. confidential debate. Right?" Keeney said. "Don't hold a search, just hire a president."

Sternberg was hired by the trustees last year after a search that lasted about four months. The Sternberg search raised controversy because the trustees tried to conduct it entirely in secret. The threat of a lawsuit by media eventually forced the trustees to release the names of the finalists.

In public testimony earlier Thursday, the trustees heard plenty of advice about the president's position, including faculty representatives who said faculty and staff needed to be included in any decision to appoint a new president.

Bill Gern, vice president of the office of research and economic development and a member of the UW executive council, suggested that a temporary president be appointed and that a search for a permanent president begin in the summer of 2015 with faculty and staff involved.

Donal O'Toole, a professor of veterinary science, objected to the trustees making a permanent presidential appointment without consulting faculty and staff.

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