The presidential search committee at Northern Illinois University has not yet requested that stoves and smoke cartridges be installed in the Altgeld auditorium.  They have, however, gone into conclave.
“This search is formatted a little differently than in the past,” said Paul Palian, director of media and public relations. “We’re using a closed, hybrid approach with stakeholders, including faculty, staff, alumni and foundation board members, who have a confidential agreement not to speak [on the matter].”

Those stakeholders will interview each candidate and provide feedback to the Board of Trustees, Palian said.

“It’s becoming quite common for universities to have a closed search,” Palian said. “I know that ISU’s president is retiring, and I don’t believe students are going to be involved in their process either.”

Alan Rosenbaum, PSAC co-chair and executive secretary of University Council, said the closed approach is becoming typical for presidential searches.

“The Board of Trustees decided on how the search would be conducted, with the advice from the Parker Executive search firm taken into consideration,” Rosenbaum said.

During the last presidential search in 2000, the candidates’ names were not confidential, according to a March 3, 2000, Northern Star article.

“The sole purpose of the search is to find the best candidate,” said Student Association Speaker James Zanayad. “The fact that it’s confidential attracts more candidates, rather than an open one where the candidate’s employers will know.”
Somewhere, there is an argument by which the ad populum fallacy becomes a best practice. There's probably also a research paper existing, or to be written, on the formalities of executive searches.  A few years ago, governing boards voted pay raises to senior administrators, whether earned or not, so as to keep administrative salaries in line with the market.  I wonder if the same if-you-can-get-a-better-job-perhaps-we'll-match-it approach to providing merit raises to faculty is now affecting compensation of higher administrators.  The article reports that Illinois State's students will have the opportunity to meet with their presidential finalists.

The confession booth was part of an exhibit of works of art depicting virtue and vice.  There may still be use for it.  The editorial board of the Northern Star have not yet called for nails and a cathedral door.  They have issued a call for reform.
The Editorial Board wants NIU to get rid of the corrupt; they’re holding the university back. A number of employees have already been fired or placed on leave because of their connections to scandals. If NIU wants to truly create a clean slate and shed its tarnished image from this year, more will need to be done.
Let the reformation begin in the executive suite.
NIU needs a president who will watch the university’s administrators and fire the people who need to be fired. He or she needs to address scandals as they happen, then be vocal in putting forth solutions so similar ethical breaches do not reoccur.
The editorial board would like to watch the presidential search.
This is to avoid conflict with their current employers. This is understandable to a degree, but unacceptable at such a late stage in the search process. NIU is a public university that each student is paying to attend. The confidentiality of the final candidates’ identities should not override the student body’s voice on this matter.

This is a crucial moment for NIU students to start caring about who will be the university’s next president. It would be one thing if NIU was running itself smoothly, but its integrity is starting to decline from the continued negative national media attention.

We need more transparency with NIU’s inner workings and president to prevent future scandals, and that means NIU’s students need to know who the presidential candidates are and need to be able to ask them questions.
There will be additional material forthcoming, as the editorial board will be reacting to the search for a new athletic director, as well as to the upcoming mayoral election.

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