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Unilateral Appointment of Purdue President Is Disturbing

The AAUP is disturbed by the news that the next president of Purdue University has been selected unilaterally by the Purdue University Board of Trustees, following a closed and unannounced process. The hiring was announced on Friday, June 10, as a fait accompli, with no participation by representatives of the faculty or other campus constituencies.

The AAUP chapters across the Purdue University System have issued an excellent statement conveying their disappointment with this process, and rightly so. The Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, jointly formulated by the AAUP, the American Council on Education, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, emphasizes that “joint effort of a most critical kind must be taken when an institution chooses a new president” and that the selection “should follow upon a cooperative search by the governing board and the faculty, taking into consideration the opinions of others who are appropriately interested.”

A 2021 AAUP survey found that all but 5.6 percent of doctoral institutions had involved the faculty in their most recent presidential search. We regret that its board of trustees has relegated Purdue University to this marginal group.

In a 2015 Statement on Presidential Searches, AAUP leaders urged that

Faculty members should demand that their institutions observe established norms of shared governance by involving faculty representatives in all stages of the search process and by providing the entire faculty and other members of the campus community the opportunity to meet with search finalists in public on campus.

We join the Purdue University AAUP chapters in their call for openness and wider participation in presidential searches.

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 15, 2022