UF picks panel to look for a president

Published: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 12:28 a.m.


FYI: Search committee

  • Cammy Abernathy, faculty
  • Carlos Alfonso, trustee
  • Doug Barrett, vice president, Health Sciences Center
  • Bob Cousins, faculty
  • Roland Daniels, trustee and committee chairman
  • Manny Fernandez, trustee
  • Jeremy Foley, athletic director
  • Nikki Fried, student and trustee
  • Pramod Khargonekar, dean
  • Allen Lastinger, Crescent Beach
  • David Lawrence, Coral Gables
  • David Mica, Tallahassee
  • Nancy Mendenhall, faculty
  • Dianna Morgan, trustee
  • Ed Poppell, vice president of administration
  • Pierre Ramond, faculty
  • Max Starks, student
  • Ward Wagner, West Palm Beach
  • UF President Charles Young, adviser
  • Former UF President John Lombardi, adviser
  • Trustees Chairman Marshall Criser, adviser

  • The University of Florida board of trustees continued Friday putting things back the way they were before voters passed a constitutional amendment designed to bring change to university governance.
    Former UF President Marshall Criser was re-elected chairman, and everyone got back their committee assignments, with new trustee and mathematics Professor Jean Larson joining the education policy and finance committees.
    The only really new thing that came up was Criser's announcement that he has appointed an 18-member presidential search committee of trustees, faculty, students and alums that will start work after Jan. 30.
    There is still no estimate for how long the search will take; Criser keeps saying it will take "as long as it takes to get the right person."
    At its inaugural meeting earlier in the week, the new 17-member Board of Governors nearly voted themselves into obscurity, delegating to the local boards almost all of the broad constitutional powers they were given.
    The move delighted the university boards, which had been looking forward to inheriting new powers to run their schools. But it disgusted backers of Amendment 11, including Emeritus Chancellor E.T. York of Gainesville, who attended Friday's board of trustees meeting.
    In his meeting comments, Criser directly addressed York, who has published recent editorials saying the Board of Governors is subverting the will of the voters and implying that Gov. Jeb Bush is pulling the strings like a puppeteer.
    "I'm talking to you, E.T.," Criser said kindly, "because I don't want to talk about you."
    York and others have suggested that under a less-centralized university system, Criser said, "that there is some disadvantage to UF and its ability to prosper in this state.
    "I don't agree."
    Criser said President Charles Young, the board of trustees and others are going to work hard to make sure UF does as well as it possibly can to get funding in a tight Legislative year, among other things.
    "If it doesn't go well for the University of Florida," Criser said, "it will quite possibly be our own fault."
    He also praised Bush's appointments to the Board of Governors, which includes four Gator alumni, he noted.
    In an interview later, York responded, saying the problem is not the quality of the people on the board.
    "I agree that it's a good board, but the quality of the board members is not the issue; it is the failure of the board to implement Amendment 11 properly, which apparently was done at the instruction of the governor," he said.
    York said he hopes the Board of Governors will take back some of its power when it sees problems in letting the universities handle everything.
    For instance, the Board of Governors could decide to set some parameters for the salaries of university presidents in Florida, which have undergone significant inflation in recent months.
    "Once the Board of Governors begins to realize the authority they have, they may do more to operate as it was intended," York said.
    "That's our only hope for the next four years for Board of Governors to act as it was intended to," said York, making reference to the fact that once Bush serves out his final term, his successor may appoint board members of a different philosophy.
    Bush had promised "continuity" and "stability" on the boards of trustees when Amendment 11 passed and he delivered it.
    Appointed this month, UF's "new" board is essentially the old board minus Burger King CEO John Dasburg, who moved over to the state Board of Governors, plus Larson who got a seat on the board because Constitutional Amendment 11 reserved one for the chair of the faculty senate.
    Last week Bush selected six of UF's trustees, and on Tuesday, the Board of Governors appointed five.
    All have been trustees at UF since July 2001.
    Larson and Student Body President Nikki Fried round out the group.
    Carrie Miller can be reached at 338-3103 or millerc@gvillesun.com

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