Orlando Sentinel by Annie Martin
April 4, 2019
The names of applicants for president at Florida public universities and colleges could be shielded from public view — a change critics say would result in the hiring of some of the state’s most powerful education leaders under a shroud of secrecy.
A bill that would hide the identities of candidates for president and provost positions — and make meetings where applicants are discussed closed to the public — won approval Thursday from the Florida House State Affairs Committee. Under the proposal, the identities of applicants “on whom a final action or vote is to be taken” would be released 30 days before a decision. If enacted, the law could affect UCF’s next presidential search, which is planned to start later this year.
“Many, if not most, of the applicants for those jobs are employed at another job at the time they apply and disclosure of their applications could jeopardize their current positions,” said state Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater.
If lawmakers approve the exemption for university and college leaders, they could eventually expand it to other public officials, such as city manager and county administrators, said Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation.