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UW to give names of president candidates

Feb 22, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE --University of Wyoming trustees will withdraw their request for a judge to keep secret their search for a university president and will soon publicly announce the finalists for the job, the trustees announced Thursday.

The UW Board of Trustees will release the names after a search committee tells the board who the finalists are in the next couple days, university spokesman Chad Baldwin said.

Baldwin said he expected the search committee "to be moving quickly." The committee was charged with recommending at least five finalists but the list will be shorter than five because some candidates dropped out after the trustees no longer could guarantee that the search would remain secret, according to a UW release.

Baldwin said he didn't know how many candidates dropped out or the number of remaining finalists.

Media organizations including The Associated Press, Casper Star-Tribune and Wyoming Tribune Eagle sued last year after trustees decided to keep the search process secret. The media argued that the secret process violated Wyoming's open records law.

In January, Albany County District Judge Jeffrey Donnell ordered the trustees to disclose the finalists after the search committee sends the list of finalists to the trustees. The Wyoming Legislature responded by changing Wyoming's open records law to allow searches for university and community college presidents to be secret.

Gov. Matt Mead allowed the bill to become law without signing it. He expressed reservations about changing the open records law but also about changing the rules for the president search after the search was well under way.

The trustees asked Donnell to change his ruling and keep the search secret. They decided Thursday to withdraw the motion because of the potential for further litigation.

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