Pointing to the possibility of a “chilling effect” if word gets out, a House bill filed last week would allow information to be kept confidential about people applying to become presidents, provosts or deans of state universities or colleges.
The bill (HB 223) filed Friday by Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, is identical to a measure (SB 182) filed last month by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla.
The proposal is part of a long-running debate about whether disclosing information during higher-education searches keeps people from seeking top jobs at Florida universities and colleges. The proposal would keep confidential any personal identifying information about applicants and would allow closed-door meetings for “vetting” applicants.
Information about finalists for the positions would be made public, and meetings would be open when colleges and universities make final selections.
“If potential applicants fear the possibility of losing their current employment as a consequence of attempting to progress along their chosen career path or seeking different and more rewarding employment, failure to have these exemptions in place could have a chilling effect on the number and quality of applicants available to fill the position of president, provost, or dean of a state university or Florida College System institution,” the proposal says.