Monday, March 28, 1994 - The Michigan Daily - 9
Regents conduct secret search, defend process
aught in personal quagmire, the
regents' search for a University presi
dent was marred by delays and inter-
nal squabbles, and ultimately forced them to
go to their second choice, after first choice
New York City Library President Vartan
'Gregorian withdrew following a phone call
from Regent Deane Baker. Below is a chro-
nology of the 14-month search that cost
$90,000 to execute and more than $375,000 to
April 28, 1987
University President Harold T. Shapiro an-
nounces his intention to resign at the end of the
year to become president of Princeton University,
effective Jan. 3, 1988.
The eight-member University Board of Re-
gents begins the process of selecting a new presi-
dent by appointing itself as a Presidential Selec-
tion Committee (PSC), with RegentPaul W. Brown
(D-Petoskey) as the chair. The board invites the
Senate Advisory Committee on University Af-
fairs, the Michigan Student Assembly and the
Board of Directors of the Alumni Association to
each appoint an advisory committee to the PSC,
.mirroring the last presidential search committee
process in 1980. Three advisory committees of
alumni, faculty and students are created.
May 31, 1987
The regents occupy Room 3281 in the School
of Business Administration as their office for the
search and select Doris Estep as secretary to the
Presidential Search Committee.
A special account, No. 419267, is opened with
an initial balance of $50,000 to be spent on the
search. By the end, the regents will spend more
Regents individually or in groups of two have
discussions with various University deans and
other administrators, state legislators, national
education leaders and others regarding University
goals, criteria for selecting the new president and
names of potential candidates.
The regents compile a list of almost 250 names
of possible candidates. Only 5 formal applications
were submitted by the candidates themselves. Most
were recommended by third parties. For each of the
more than 200 people listed, Estep compiles a one-
page biography-mainly through the use of "Who's
Who in American Education," which the Estep
purchases for $257.
Sub-quorum groups of regents meet with the
student, faculty and alumni advisory committees,
each of which had been asked to rankthe 200 or so
names on a scale of one to five. The rankings are
discussed at these meetings.
Oct. 26, 1987
Brown, based on sub-quorum meetings and
individual telephone discussions with fellow re-
gents, cuts the list of possible candidates down to
70 names. The PSC gives Brown the sole authority
to make the first cut.
That list is sent to the advisory committees.
*Each committee is asked to select their top 30
names and evaluate them. This results in three
different score cards. The faculty committee meets
with sub-quorum groups of regents regarding its
score card. The student and alumni groups submit
theirs in writing.
At this point, the regents avoid quorum meet-
ings because they would have to conduct a public
meeting under the state Open Meetings Act.
The PSC's list of possible candidates is re-
duced to 42 names by Brown in closed meetings
with no formal vote of the regents.
At the request of the faculty advisory commit-
tee, Jerry Baker of Lamalie Associates Inc., a man-
agement consultant firm, is hired by the regents for
biographical reports on the candidates. The regents
pay the firm $40,000 for providing this information.
Feb. 9, 1988
Faculty members on the advisory committee
express frustration to the PSC with the search and
the apparent foot-dragging by the regents.
In minutes kept from the faculty advisory
committee, Thomas Kauper, chair of the commit-
tee, said, "The problem seems to be that the eight
regents are not able to communicate with each
other except by one-on-one telephone calls." There
is still considerable disagreement among the re-
gents, according to Regent Deane Baker (D-Ann
A memo from Kauper urges the regents to
accelerate the process.
"Our committee is growing concerned over its
pace, for several reasons," he said.
Kauper's memo also stated:
We are getting perilously close to the prac-
tical deadline for having someone on board by the
Presidential searches are underway at a
number of other schools. There is a danger that
candidates in whom we have an interest might
commit themselves to another institution.
Gregorian was also being considered for the
head spot at Brown University.
Candidates might interpret slowness in the
process as reflective of a general lack of enthusi-
asm for those under consideration.
"We recognize that the open meeting require-
ments are a major factor in the pace of the search,
and that not much can be done to change the
difficulties those requirements create. We urge
that once the next list is prepared the initial con-
tacts with candidates be made as rapidly as pos-
sible," Kauper said.
To accelerate the search, a number of members
on the faculty advisory committee threaten to
"I have conveyed the feelings of frustration to
the regents. Threats will probably be useful at this
point in order to advance the process," Kauper
said. "We will convey to the regents that threats to
this cut, only four University candidates remain:
Gilbert R. Whitaker, dean of the business school;
Charles M. Vest, dean of the College of Engineer-
ing; Homer A. Neal, chair of the department of
physics; and James J. Duderstadt, provost for aca-
The list of possible candidates in the second
cut is cut to about 27 by Brown.
Brown begins contacting the nominees to de-
termine their interest and to make arrangements
for regents to talk to them.
The regents contact the candidates individu-
ally and ask if they would like to be considered.
"This is the recruitment stage, so there is quite
a bit of selling involved," Roach said.
The candidates were asked whether they were
willing to be a candidate and if they wanted their
candidacy considered in confidence.
Seven nominees decline, which further re-
duces the list to 12. Each of the 12 is contacted by
two or three regents and each is asked whether he
wants to be considered in confidence. Each says
March 15, 1988
By this time, no women are left on the list. The
regents add two minority candidates to the list, in-
cluding Walter Massey, vice president for research at
the University of Chicago, who were previously cut.
In a meeting with the faculty committee, the
regents remind the faculty members to exercise
caution when evaluating the possible candidates.
Baker says, "I have more reservations ... about
broad-based inquiry into individuals. One misstep
can blow somebody away. Everyone is concerned
In the matter of communication, Roach cau-
tions that the all members of the committee should
not undertake individual inquiries in to the candi-
"Focus your inquires through your chair. We
don't want to blow a good candidate out of the
water," Roach says.
"We can't have 15 people calling a campus to
get information on a particular person," Roach
April 19, 1988
A concern is stated regarding Sunday's New
York Times front-page article about racism on the
University's campus. Discussion as to the
University's image ensues.
The candidates themselves make the third cut.
From the 30 remaining candidates, more than half
remove themselves from consideration. Twelve
In groups of two, three or four, the regents
travel to the candidates' home cities to conduct
private interviews they called "visits."
After meeting with the 12 candidates, and
obtaining requests for confidentiality from each,
the board holds Section 8F (Open Meetings Act)
meetings to consider applications. Among the ma-
terial considered are curricular vitae from the
Association of Governing Boards, Estep's one-
page biographies, the search consultant's bio-
graphical reports, letters of recommendation, ar-
ticles about the candidates, financial reports con-
cerning organizations with which the candidates
are affiliated and reports from the faculty advisory
committee. In addition, Roach reported on discus-
sions he had had with the committees.
No votes are taken at the 8F meetings. Brown,
as he listens to the discussions and perceives a
consensus. In the fourth cut, Brown reduces the list
to five candidates: Duderstadt, Gregorian, Massey,
James MillerIII, directorthe Office of Management
and Budget and Steven Sample, president, State
University of New York at Buffalo.
Preparations for interviews with the candidates
begin. Four regents, two faculty members, one stu-
dent and one alum meet to interview the top candi-
dates. Interviews are expected to last four hours.
This procedure was taken because of the con-
structive quorum law, Roach says.
"The act permits meeting as an entire body in
closed conference with candidates who desire to
be considered in confidence. A separate section of
the act says that all interviews must be given'in an
open meeting," Roach says.
Brown and Estep then arrange for interviews
with the five. Brown appoints five different inter-
view committees, each with four different regents,
two members of the student advisory committee,
two from the alumni advisory committee and three
from the faculty advisory committee.
Interviews are held at three different locations,
after which the candidate is excused and there is
discussion between the regents and the advisory
committee members. Later, the regents on the
interview committee take the candidate out to
Regents Thomas Roach (left), Deane Baker and Paul Brown and Interim University President
Robben Fleming attend a regents' meeting in the Fleming Administration Building in 1988.
resign are present in this committee."
Kauper said, "Also need to realize that this
committee dissolves at the end of April! Will play
it by ear about reminding the regents that no one on
this committee agreed to serve more than a year.
Will downplay that issue."
Faculty committee members express concern
that further delays by the regents would force them
to settle on an internal candidate.
March 1, 1988
Regent Thomas Roach (D-Ann Arbor), the
selection committee's liaison to the advisory com-
mittees, addresses the faculty committee members
in an attempt to allay their frustrations.
Roach said, "There are no secret agendas and
no bias towards internal candidates. It has just not
been possible to have all eight regents sit down and
talk through their disagreements. No one on the
board takes that view that there must be an internal
Roach also addressed the issues of minority
candidates, length of the search and confidential-
"There is a concern that more minority candi-
dates are needed on the list.... At any rate we have
"Anyone left on the list after contacts, which
are being made now, will be considered in confi-
dence. The list should go down by about one-third
after contacts are made. The list should go down
fast after that.
"The search is taking longer than expected.
But this committee has to understand that when
you have to communicate by telephone, even one
person being out of town for a week or two can
slow things down, because the board feels the
decisions must be unanimous in acceptance."
Candidates who regents knew personally were
contacted by telephone.
"If we don't know the candidates well, we
must arrange meetings, travel, etc.," Roach says.
"Once all candidates are contacted, there will
be at least two more cuts before the interviewing
process starts. The list will be cut down to three to
five candidates before interviewing begins," he
A consensus list is compiled by the regents. In
The regents form a nominating committee con-
sisting of four regents- Baker, Brown, Roach and
Nellie Varner(D-Detroit)-to decide which candi-
dates would be considered for action by the board.
The regents conduct interviews with the candi-
dates outside of Ann Arbor. The last day of inter-
views with the finalists, The Ann Arbor News sues
University in Washtenaw County Circuit Court
for violating the state Open Meetings Act in its
search process. The lawsuit calls for the release of
all documents generated since the beginning of the
May 24, 1988
In a closed session, the regents meet for four
hours to discuss the interviews and the advice of
the advisory committees. Again, no vote is taken,
but Brown determines that a consensus has nar-
rowed the field to two. This is the fifth cut. None-
theless, once the full board adjourns, the nominat-
ing committee reconvenes and goes through the
entire list of more than 200 nominees. The regents
conclude they will pursue only the two candidates
- Gregorian and Duderstadt.
The Detroit Free Press joins The Ann Arbor
June 2, 1988
Circuit Court Judge Ross W. Campbell rules in
favor of the University, stating that the "effect of
disclosure is so obviously deleterious and inimical
to the pubic good" that the University must be able
to meet in closed session to protect the confiden-
tiality of candidates.
June 4-5, 1988
Seven regents favored Gregorian to serve at
the helm of the University. Baker, however, had
other other ideas. Breaking rank and without noti-
fying other members of the selection committee,
Baker telephoned Gregorian and said, "I know you
are the choice of all the others, but I will not
Baker's call changed the course of the presi-
dential search. Gregorian promptly withdrew his
Gregorian's announcement shocked the other
"I was furious. He had subverted the will of the
board. I thought it was despicable," Brown told the
Detroit Free Press.
Gregorian later took the top spot at Brown
June 7, 1988,9:30 p.m.
In a four-way telephone conference, the re-
gents on the nominating committee agree to nomi-
June 8, 1988
Brown and Roach meet with Duderstadt at the
Inglis House, a University-owned house, to ask
him if he would take the helm at the University if
Surprised, Duderstadt asks that his wife be
present to also hear the good news. The meeting
breaks up for several hours. The group meets again
with Anne Duderstadt to hear the good news.
June 10, 1988
The regents meet publicly to interview
Duderstadt. The regents acknowledge that a single
candidate for the top spot had been found. The
regents accept the recommendation of the nomi-
nating committee and vote to name James J.
Duderstadt as 1Ith president of the University.
June 17, 1988
The News and Free Press appeal the local court
decision, but the Michigan Court of Appeals turns
down a request to hear an emergency petition.
Campbell reaffirms his June 1988 ruling. The
papers appeal to the state Court of Appeals.
The state appeals court reverses Campbell's
ruling. The court rules, "There is real and immi-
nent danger of irreparable injury when govern-
mental bodies meet and act in secret." The Univer-
sity appeals the case to the state Supreme Court.
Sept. 28, 1993
The high court rules 4-3 that the University
violated the state Open Meetings Act and the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) during the
The court rules that "all interviews by a public
body for employment in or appointment to a public
office must be held in public."
Washtenaw Circuit Court Judge Patrick J.
Conlin orders the University to make public all
documents and recordings related to the search,
including "minutes, notes, candidate lists and rat-
ing sheets." Candidates' resumes and applications
were to remain confidential, however.
Seeking to avoid another long court battle, the
regents decide not to appeal Conlin's decision.
The regents agree reluctantly to hand over the
documents, citing the potentially damaging com-
ments contained in the personal notes about candi-
Roach withholds his personal documents.
N This timeline was compiled by Daily Staff
Reporters James R. Cho, Nate Hurley and
David Shepardson, using information
obtained from faculty advisory committee
minutes as well as from a chronology of
events prepared by the University for use in
The eight elected representatives who make up the University
Board of Regents conducted the 1988 presidential search. The
state Supreme Court has ruled that the regents did not comply with
jhe state's Open Meetings Act during the search and a lower court
ordered the release of all documents relating to the search.
k 5 Neil D. Nielsen
Elected in 1984. Lost re-election in 1992.
Nielsen served on the board during the
Elected in 1972. Term expires Dec. 31, 1996.
Baker served on the board and was a
member of the nominating committee. He
opposed the majority of the board who
favored Vartan Gregorian. A call to Gregorian
prompted him to withdraw from the race.
Philip H. Power°
Appointed by Gov. James Blanchard in 1987,
elected in 1990. Term expires Dec. 31,
Paul W. Brown
Elected in 1970. Term expires Dec. 31,
Brown chaired the Presidential Search
Committee and was a member of the
Elected in 1972. Did not seek re-election in