Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Faculty senate not consulted for Bonner decision

Faculty members are beginning to express their concerns after the Board of Trustees named Judy Bonner president of The University of Alabama on Nov. 1, following the resignation of Guy Bailey.

Paul Horwitz, the Gordon Rosen Professor of Law, wrote to Faculty Senate President Stephen Miller and faculty senators Friday afternoon in an email obtained by The Crimson White. Horwitz outlined questions about the process of Bonner’s selection of the University’s new president to members of the Faculty Senate.

Horwitz presented questions regarding the process of Bonner’s selection.

“I mean to suggest no prejudgment — or, in the even, post-judgement — on that question,” Horwitz wrote. “I am simply surprised by the swift choice and would like to know why she was deemed the best candidate for the job and, indeed, whether there were any other candidates.”

Horwitz said he understood interim presidents were ineligible to serve as the permanent president of the University.

“I may be wrong on this, so please correct me if I am, but I thought that when Dr. Bonner was named the interim president last time around, it was understood that the interim president would be ineligible to serve as the permanent president,” Horwitz wrote. “I appreciate that there was an intervening event, but if there was no new search I would like to know whether and why there was no apparent change in policy.”

Miller said that although he served on the presidential search committee that named Guy Bailey president in June, he played no role in the selection of Bonner.

“I was given a heads up by the chancellor that President Bailey was going to step down the day of the announcement, but I had no role in the selection of Bonner,” Miller said. “The Board of Trustees has a great deal of authority. I can’t guess why they did what they did. However, I guess continuity was really important. We just hired a new president and he had to step down, so keeping the university going without a huge bump in the road may have been on their minds.”

Miller said many faculty members wanted Bonner to be considered in the original presidential search, according to his survey of UA faculty, although she was never considered.

“Bonner was one of the top five subjects that the faculty would like to be considered in the presidential search committee. However, she didn’t apply because she didn’t want to divide her time while being interim president and provost,” Miller said. “Although the UA faculty brought up her name often, she was not discussed in the committee at that point the charge was finding a sitting president at a university.”

However, Horwitz said UA faculty might have been supportive of Bonner as interim president, but not as a permanent selection.

“It is not beyond the realm of possibility that some faculty members, and other members of the university community, might have considered Dr. Bonner well-suited to serve as interim president but not well-suited for a permanent appointment to the office of university president,” Horwitz said.

Miller said he hopes the rumors surrounding Bonner’s quick appointment don’t overshadow her opportunities as president.

“Everything about this was a surprise. No one saw this coming, but among many faculty Bonner is seen as a great administrator,” Miller said. “These rumors abound when where are changes, I just hope we can give the new president the chance to be a great president.”

Horwitz, however, said he hopes the Faculty Senate addresses these relevant questions surrounding Bonner’s sudden appointment.

“It is not an objection to the person or the process,” Horwitz said. “I just want to make sure we clearly and fully understand the process and choice, and fully discharge our duties as a faculty senate. I’m looking for information and clarification; I have no views beyond that at this time.”

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