Our View

The search for Simpson’s new president has become more secretive than a fraternity initiation rite. While the final stages of past Simpson presidential searches traditionally have been open, the clamps were put on this search when at least one of the finalists balked at having his or her name released to the public.

This measure is in direct conflict with some basic guidelines the college has not only agreed on, but published on its Web site. Under the Presidential Leadership link on the Presidential Search page, Simpson lists its “central ideas” as community, quality, and respect.


Now if only those ideas were put into play during the search. Only a handful of students and faculty have met the college’s finalists. A broader spectrum of the community should have had that opportunity. To be a quality process, the search should have been conducted in the open out of respect to the entire college. Part of the needed respect should have come from the presidential finalists. Simpson’s new president should have enough respect for the student body that he or she doesn’t need to request that his or her name be kept confidential during the search.

At the same time, members of the search committee should have enough courage to respect the college, too. When a candidate said he or she did not want his or her name made public, the committee should have shown him or her the proverbial door.

There is no acceptable reason why a member of the candidate pool should not want the entire world to know they could be president of Simpson College. This is an amazing school and a fantastic opportunity for whoever is chosen. Anyone who cannot recognize and respect that doesn’t deserve to be considered.

The only way to rectify this problem seems to be to wipe the slate of those who were reluctant to give their names. Eliminate those who did not show respect to the college and the students. Keep the candidates who were willing to have their names made public.

Yes, it would undoubtedly take a long time. But now that the committee has had a practice run, it should be quicker the second time around.