Daily Egyptian

Chancellor search suspended, Randhawa withdraws

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

The search for a new chancellor has been suspended after preferred candidate Sabah Randhawa, executive vice president and provost of Oregon State University, withdrew his candidacy June 8.

Of the four finalists chosen in April, Pam Benoit, provost and executive vice president at Ohio University, also withdrew while Lawrence Schovanec, provost and senior vice president at Texas Tech University, was not chosen to move forward with the position, university spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said.

Randal Thomas, the chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, said they decided to pursue Randhawa for the position on June 3, while Ford remains provost and in charge of academic affairs.

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“I was in this because I wanted to be chancellor and felt I would be good as chancellor, so there is a level of disappointment when the search is suspended,” Ford said. “But, I have said from the start that my goal is to support the institution the best way I can.”

Ford said she is still thrilled to continue as provost and her heart remains true to helping the university.

“In the case of Dr. Ford, there was a very strong concern from the board … that she is doing an outstanding job as provost,” President Dunn said. “There was certainly concern about the difficulty that might be created about the academic leadership of the campus if we took her out of that role.”

Dunn said while the university provided a competitive package and there was not a single issue that led to Randhawa’s withdrawal, the state’s fiscal status was a contributing factor. Thomas also said Illinois’ current economic status contributed to Randhawa’s decision.

“These are major decisions for candidates as well as institutions, and it is often during the final phases of the process that decisions become clear based on the unique interests of the candidate and the unique nature of the institution,” Dunn said in press release.

He said the search will be suspended until the board can discuss further steps at its next regular meeting July 16. Meanwhile, Dunn will maintain dual roles as chancellor and president of the system.

“Ultimately, the board and I believe that we should be able to attract a chancellor with deep, rich and proven administrative experience in areas of critical importance to the university’s future … given the challenges ahead,” he said.

The chancellor position became open after the unexpected death of Interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela in November. 

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