You can speak at open forums for FAU president, but the presidential search committee won’t hear you

Lulu Ramadan

The search committee responsible for recommending the next president of FAU was gracious enough to host open forums for students and faculty to ask the tough questions to candidates — not that the committee will hear any of it anyway.

Three finalists — George LeMieux, John Kelly and Christopher Earley — were chosen on  Jan. 10 as finalists for FAU president after personal interviews with the 15-member presidential search committee. The position of president opened up after former President Mary Jane Saunders abruptly resigned last May mid-contract.

The committee arranged open forums on Jan. 14-16 to give faculty and students a chance to ask candidates questions and raise any concerns they might have before the official recommendation is approved by the Board of Trustees — FAU’s highest ranking officials — on Jan. 17.

The first open forum with the candidates took place on Jan. 14 at 8 a.m. on the Jupiter-MacArthur campus. A group of about 25 to 30 faculty members piled into a room with neatly prepared questions for the first candidate — former U.S. Senator George LeMieux.

Once the forum ended, students and community members were next to question the candidates. The first question, posed by a community member: Will the BOT or the presidential search committee even hear our questions and answers?

No.

No members of the BOT or presidential search committee attended the open forum.

The only way to communicate the events of the open forum is to go online and fill out this feedback form. If they don’t submit the feedback online, the committee won’t see any of it. And the first group of faculty members weren’t even informed that they had to submit their feedback online.

The committee won’t hear or read the exact questions posed and answers provided either.

Many faculty members and students posed questions to LeMieux that weren’t addressed in the interview with the committee on Jan. 10. For example, how he will avoid tuition increases and create a bus service that runs between FAU’s multiple campuses (from Davie to Jupiter).

But the presidential search committee doesn’t know any of this. They continue to support this free speech as the open forums will continue through Thursday, Jan. 16.

So if you have something important you want the presidential search committee to hear, don’t be shy. Just type it out verbatim and click “submit.”