December 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Meehan will not be next UM president, search continues

University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor and former seven-term Congressman Martin “Marty” Meehan will not be the next President of the UMass system, as was discussed first by the Boston Globe last week and later by other media outlets.

In a Tuesday letter from Presidential Search Committee Chairman James Karam to other members of the Search Committee obtained by the Collegian, Karam disclosed that Meehan has asked “that his name be withdrawn from consideration as we continue our search for a new President for the University of Massachusetts.”

Discussion began swirling around whether the Search Committee had come to a foregone conclusion in Meehan Nov. 22, when the Globe reported that Gov. Deval Patrick would be meeting with UMass Board of Trustees chairman Robert J. Manning and Karam to ensure the search was fair and that no inside politics were being played.

While Karam did not return several phone calls early in the week, he forwarded the memo he sent to the rest of the Search Committee and Meehan’s correspondence through UMass system spokesman Robert Connolly.

In the letter, Karam, who also served on the Board which appointed President Jack Wilson, expressed displeasure with the former-Congressman’s decision.

“While I understand and respect the Chancellor’s decision, I am saddened that we have lost a distinguished and formidable candidate for this very important position,” he wrote. “Based on his service in Congress and his energetic leadership and strong record of accomplishment of Chancellor of UMass Lowell, Marty Meehan is the kind of candidate that any university in the nation would be eager to include in a presidential search.”

While Karam described Meehan as a “candidate,” other members of the Committee were reluctant to use such precise language in describing any of the names still in the field.

“At the moment there are approximately 15 [names],” said Michael J. Carter, an associate professor of economics at UMass Lowell and one of the 23 members of the Search Committee. “I wouldn’t really call them candidates yet; they’re people with whom we’ve had discussions and, you know, that are still potentially interested and we’re potentially interested.”

“The goal of our Committee is to narrow the field down to three or four candidates that would be, at that point, assuming they’re willing to become official candidates, their names would be reported to the Board of Trustees and made public,” he explained.

While none of the names of the individuals the Committee has contacted have gone public, few, even those inside the UMass system’s administration, expected Meehan’s to reach newspaper pages and airwaves.

“I don’t anticipate more names coming out soon, but I didn’t anticipate Marty’s name coming out, either,” said Connolly in an email late Tuesday.

UMass Student Trustee Mike Fox, however, seemed to think that some names would be public by as early as next week.

“I expect that by the end of the year, finalists will be revealed and people will have a long enough opportunity to get to know these candidates,” he said. “The President sets the tone and direction of the University, and their decisions will trickle down and impact us, and I’m just hoping they keep their word,” he said.

Fox said he hopes the Trustees will inform student and faculty leaders of finalists next week when they visit Amherst for a Trustees’ meeting on Wednesday morning in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center.

“Not only has this been sort of hinted at that we will have this opportunity [to learn finalists’ names], but the Faculty Senate and the SGA, everyone’s expecting it, so if they don’t give enough time for people to talk to these candidates, it would really be an insult to the recognized government bodies of this school,” said Fox.

According to Carter and Connolly, the Search Committee will meet again Dec. 16.

“We’re supposedly going to be meeting in mid-December to make some sort of progress,” said Carter. “As far as I know the pool is still at that size [15],” continued Carter, “we may get all the way down to three or four at that meeting, it’s possible, or we may not be able to get down that far, and we may have to invite some subset of that 15 down back for a second interview.”

As for why Meehan stepped out of the running, he wrote in his letter to Trustee Karam that he would like to keep his focus on the Lowell campus.

“I’ve concluded that my interest remains in running UMass Lowell,” he wrote yesterday. “Therefore, I ask that my name be removed from consideration for president of the system.”

The Globe reported last week that Meehan came out of a preliminary round of interviews with “strong support on the Search Committee,” fueling speculation that the longtime Congressman was becoming a shoe-in for the job before more candidates could be vetted.

The Governor stepped in, Patrick administration sources told the Globe, concerned about political appearances, as he drew fire for appointing a political ally to a senior state post last year, and worried that Meehan’s appointment would reflect negatively on him for promoting an ally.

Last week’s news prompted a backlash of skepticism from some UMass Amherst faculty, who worried this search would end similarly to the one which resulted in Jack Wilson’s appointment in 2004.

Then, according to a March 24, 2004 Board of Trustees minutes document obtained by the Collegian, Wilson was appointed President of the University without an interview before the Board. The Board also did not interview the other finalist for the job, Alan Solmont, who is now the United States’ Ambassador to Spain.

Trustee Robert McCarthy at that meeting asked to submit a motion that “the Board of Trustees take no vote for the President of the University of Massachusetts until the candidates are interviewed by the Board.”

The Chair of the Board at that time, Grace Fey, asked for a vote on McCarthy’s motion, and it was defeated 8-5. Fey then moved to appoint Wilson President of the University, the motion was seconded, and the Board took a vote, with 14 members of the Board approving him, none voting against, and three members taking no vote, reporting they did not have enough information to make a decision.

This move frustrated many in the University community, who felt the Board had not acted in a transparent manner, and the suggestion that Meehan might already have been named ruffled some feathers.

In a Nov. 23 piece in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Faculty Senate President Ernest May said he felt the Committee needed to see the search through.

“Marty Meehan might be a great candidate for the job, but there might be others as well,” the Gazette reported him as saying. May referred phone calls from the Collegian to former Faculty Senate President Max Page in the art and architecture program. Page did not return several calls by press time Tuesday.

In any rate, with Meehan’s withdrawal, the search continues.

“Our search process continues and it is a strong and vital one that has attracted interest from outstanding candidates throughout the nation,” wrote Karam. “Our Committee is scheduled to meet in a little over two weeks, and I am confident that we will be able to move our process forward and, at the appropriate moment, will succeed in our goal of selecting finalist candidates.”

This is a developing story, the Collegian will have more on it as it continues.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at sbutterfield@dailycollegian.com.

Comments
2 Responses to “Meehan will not be next UM president, search continues”
  1. Ed says:

    I don’t know what part of “leak” this was — Patrick Murry was on a Worcester talk radio station at LEAST two weeks ago talking about Meehan being considered for the position. When you have the LT Gov saying something, even on a Worcester AM station, it kinda is public…

    NB: Murry is from Worcester….

  2. Fact Checker says:

    Ed – A google search finds there is no such person as Patrick Murry. Do you mean Tim Murray?

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