The board of trustees will hold a special meeting during the last week of June to formally approve a recommended candidate to be AU’s next president, according to a source familiar with the search process who wished to remain anonymous.
The meeting will come several weeks after select groups of students and faculty, as well as AU’s school deans, vice presidents and other university officials, met with three finalist candidates on multiple occasions during late May and early June. Students met with candidates on three occasions at hotels in downtown D.C., said Marissa Newhall, former editor in chief of The Eagle and one of the students who met with the candidates. The constituent meetings occurred off-campus because the committee wanted to maintain the confidential nature of the search process. However, all of the candidates also took a tour of the university campus, said Student Government Comptroller David Teslicko, another student who met with the candidates and a junior in the School of Public Affairs.
The Eagle spoke with several students who met the three candidates, but they refused to provide any further information on them, citing a confidentiality agreement they were required to sign in order to participate in the meetings.
Former SG President Ashley Mushnick and former Graduate Leadership Council Executive Chair Wade Murphy, who both serve on the committee, chose which students would meet with the candidates.
“We tried to tap students from a broad range of interests so that the presidential search candidates could experience firsthand the diversity of our student body,” Mushnick said. “We wanted to find students that were knowledgeable about the challenges that AU faced but that were also impressive to presidential search candidates.”
The committee decided to implement the constituent meeting plan so members of the university community could have some contact with the candidates, she said.
“There are so many issues that face our community,” Mushnick said. “I don’t pretend to understand all of the concerns that students face. Beyond the importance of getting feedback from constituent groups from these meetings, we also saw this as an opportunity for AU to market itself to these candidates. . We wanted candidates to have face-to-face time with some of the most impressive members of our community.”
Presidential Search Committee Chairman Gary Abramson originally discussed the plan at a town hall meeting April 26, The Eagle previously reported. The committee released more details on the significance of the meeting plan after they decided to delay the end date for the search. The committee had originally intended to conclude the search in mid-May, but decided they would have needed to rush through the rest of the process in order to meet that deadline. They also decided to delay because of several committee members’ involvement in commencement and other end-of-the-semester activities, according to a statement e-mailed by Abramson on May 3.
Mushnick said she talks to the students after each meeting so she can get their impressions of each candidate.
“All of their answers have been helpful to me in weighing the positives and negatives of each candidate,” she said. “They’ve been able to bring the committee perspectives from the ground level.”
SG President Joe Vidulich, another student who attended the candidate meetings and a senior in SPA, said he felt the meetings were productive.
“[The committee has] trusted myself and the other students with a great deal of confidence, and I truly respect that,” he said. “I know everyone who sits in on these meetings really appreciates that they’re keeping us involved.”
As of press time, no one had publicly discussed when they would announce who the new president would be.