Presidential search gets confidential

by Vania Quiroz

Though they were recently on campus, confidentiality issues kept the public from meeting the four remaining candidates in Simpson’s presidential search.

Two of the candidates requested their names not be made known to the public for fear of losing their current jobs if not selected.

“I understand why people are concerned about the secrecy, it’s an outstanding feature of this process,” said Jennifer Hedda, assistant professor of history. “It’s not a conspiracy about hiding the candidates. We just want to respect the wishes of the candidates.”

Professor Emeritus Joe Walt, who has been part of the faculty staff since 1955, said this measure was also taken because in previous presidential searches, there were few candidates who were already presidents of colleges.

“I think this time we have a couple of candidates who are currently presidents of colleges in the region,” Walt said. “One can understand the actions of the college trying to protect the candidates’ identities to respect their jobs. People must understand that if their names are revealed, only one of them will have a secure job next fall while the other ones could end up losing their jobs because their schools found out their presidents applied to get another job.”

Walt has served on three presidential search committees, and as far as he can recall this is the first time the search process .

“In the past, at some point, any member of the Simpson community interested in the process had the opportunity to meet the candidates,” Walt said.

Nonetheless, according to Hedda, confidentiality is a common issue today, especially when candidates apply for positions at the executive level.

“My father has served in the government and is currently in the business field,” Hedda said. “Once he was invited to apply for another job that he really wanted, but once his boss found out about it, he fired my dad immediately.”

Although Hedda said she agreed with the decision to not reveal the names of Simpson’s final candidates for president, she also said some aspects of the efforts to maintain the confidentiality seemed over the top.

“Ultimately it’s the board of trustees that decides who will become president,” Hedda said. “If they feel all this is necessary, maybe they know better.”