The surprising retirement announcement by Youngstown State University President Cynthia Anderson led to another search for the board of trustees, its second in three years.
Yet, reasons are unknown for her seemingly premature departure from the institution she’s called home since 1979.
Perhaps it could be that she got caught in the crossfire during 2011’s tumultuous contract negotiations. Or maybe it’s because the stress that comes from dealing with an off-campus shooting, a hazing scandal and regulations designed to avoid Obamacare policies, all of which gained national attention, became overwhelming.
Regardless, the school must now foot the bill for a search process, which requires professional consulting. At a time of increased financial scrutiny, every penny spent must be justified.
To its credit, the board found an affordable firm, AGB Search, which Chair Sudershan Garg said will charge the university roughly $65,000 for its services. In comparison, the University of Florida was being charged nearly $100,000 for its search, which was recently called off for excessive cost. In 2011, Iowa State University spent $133,000 for its search.
The candidates, we speculate, will be primarily academics. However, given the aforementioned monetary circumstances, “budget-slashing” business types may be up for consideration.
There couldn’t be a more inappropriate candidate than that.
Slashing budgets is the board’s job; the president must only guide the way.
One of Anderson’s greatest qualities in her role as president was her dedication to the student body.
It is paramount that the board seeks out a similarly suited replacement. With future enrollment declines projected due to a recovering economy, tuition will likely increase as a result. A staunch advocate for students must be president to ensure they don’t continue to carry the entire burden.