Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

When UB President John Simpson announced he was stepping down at the beginning of the fall term it seemed to have caught most people utterly flat-footed. He-- or maybe he and his lieutenant, Scott Nostaja, or maybe Simpson, Nostaja and Jeremy M. Jacobs, Chairman of the UB Council, had a plan, sort of, but it was a half-baked plan, and they backed away from it. Now Mr. Jacobs has emailed the UB listserve to let us know that "the search committee has received nominations of exceptionally well qualified candidates from some of the nation's best universities" and that "We continue to narrow the pool to those candidates in whom we are especially interested," and President Simpson has emailed the listserve to advise that he's agreed to continue to serve as president for a limited period of time beyond January 15th while the search process moves toward a conclusion."

I don't think anyone expected that we'd have a new university president by January 15, 2011-- that would be unusually fast. This flurry of correspondence suggests to me that (a) Simpson's resignation really was as abrupt a move as it appeared at the time; (b) the University Counsel is not inclined to work with an interim president (that's usually the Provost). Is this because nobody wants to be the interim president? It doesn't sound like it is because the search committee is close to wrapping up its work-- usually that is preceded by the announcement of a shortlist, isn't it? Jacobs' email made it sound like that's a ways off yet.The whole thing is quite odd. I can't say that there should be more transparency-- it's a hiring process after all-- but I wish I felt better about how it was proceeding. The whole thing has been handled in a very tone-deaf way.

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