The inspector general for the state university system’s Board of Governors is recommending that Florida Atlantic University be required to restart a search for a new president.
A search was halted and an investigation ordered in July as university system Chancellor Ray Rodrigues alleged “anomalies” in the search process. Rodrigues said a search firm hired by FAU conducted an anonymous survey in which members of a presidential search committee ranked preferred candidates.
A 41-page inspector general’s report detailing the investigation was published on the Board of Governors’ website this week, and the board is expected to discuss the report during a Dec. 14 meeting.
“The legality of using a preference survey conducted by a third party whereby members anonymously ranked candidates during a presidential search and selection process was questioned in light of Florida’s Sunshine Law” on open government, the report said.
Rodrigues also alleged the search firm improperly used a questionnaire that asked job candidates about their sexuality and preferred pronouns.
In addition, the report said members of the search committee did not comply with non-disclosure agreements, focusing on an opinion piece written by committee member Dick Schmidt.
“Records support that FAU BOT (Board of Trustees) Chair Brad Levine, General Counsel David Kian and Vice President of Public Affairs Peter Hull met with Mr. Schmidt about the op-ed before its publication; Mr. Kian provided suggested edits; and Mr. Hull provided media contact information for distribution,” the report said.
The document said the “level of FAU employee involvement appears to make it a communication on behalf of the university, and therefore a violation of the signed non-disclosure agreement.”
The report also urged the Board of Governors to consider whether Levine, who served as chairman of the FAU search committee, should be barred from serving in the same role in a revamped search.
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