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Regents reject immediate search for new chancellor

Updated September 29, 2023 - 12:47 pm

A board that oversees Nevada’s higher education system decided Thursday to create a committee that will review chancellor search policies before looking for a new top leader.

The Nevada Board of Regents considered two options — reviewing policies or immediately beginning the search for a permanent chancellor using existing policies.

Regent Patrick Boylan, who later voted against creating the committee, said there’s already a person in the position of chancellor who knows the system.

“I don’t see what the rush is,” he said.

It’s unclear when the search for a new chancellor — who will oversee eight public schools that serve about 100,000 students — could begin.

In late June, regents decided in a split vote to reject a motion to hire Lawrence Drake II, who was interim president of Bethune-Cookman University, as chancellor. The board then discontinued the search.

Regents voted unanimously in late August to hire Patricia “Patty” Charlton as interim chancellor. She’ll remain in the position until a permanent chancellor is hired.

She was previously the Nevada System of Higher Education’s acting vice chancellor of academic and student affairs and became “officer in charge” after acting Chancellor Dale Erquiaga retired in early August.

The committee that will review chancellor search policies will recommend revisions to the full board.

During Thursday’s meeting, there was discussion among regents about whether blind hiring should be used for the chancellor search. Others cited concerns about the open meeting law related to candidates being publicly disclosed.

Blind hiring entails hiding certain personal information on a candidate’s application materials — a practice that aims to reduce bias in the hiring process.

In February, the board’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee gave approval for the acting chancellor to implement a blind hiring pilot program within the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Regent Laura Perkins said she wanted to put in a plug for blind hiring. She also said there wasn’t a diversity, equity and inclusion lens in the last search during the first look at candidates.

Board Vice Chair Joseph Arrascada, who led the previous chancellor search committee, said it was tough to hear some comments about the past search.

It’s imperative that all searches are conducted in an impartial manner by people who have done national searches, he said, arguing that the previous search was done correctly.

Arrascada said he took offense at the comment about diversity, equity and inclusion.

He said the right individuals were found with the previous search.

“It was not a failure,” he insisted.

Arrascada said he hopes the new chancellor search goes well and that it’s done sooner versus later.

During a public comment period, UNLV Faculty Senate Chair Bill Robinson said the last search wasn’t conducted during the hiring season in higher education, which is advertising in the fall and hiring in the spring.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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