Nevada regents debate plan to give chancellor greater authority

LAS VEGAS - A proposal to shift authority for firing university and college presidents to the chancellor is stirring debate in Nevada.

At a Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Interim Chancellor Jim Rogers made an impassioned plea for the power to fire presidents.

Rogers said he and his successor, whom regents hope to appoint next year, would be unable to prod presidents to act on behalf of the system without such authority.

The chancellor's position would be merely a social one without such authority, he added.

"They will politick you," Rogers told the board. "That is the way they bring you to a halt."

But some regents and presidents warned the proposal would allow the chancellor to fire a president behind closed doors for a subjective reason and without avenue for appeal.

UNLV President Carol Harter said she thinks there's a need for an appeals process and there might be a chilling effect on applicants without one.

Regent Steve Sisolak said he's worried the chancellor would fire a president behind closed doors.

"My concern is that there would be no open meeting law," he said.

There needs to be consistency, and the chancellor who terminates should be responsible for hiring a president, said Richard Carpenter, president of Community College of Southern Nevada.

Otherwise, he warned, the system will find fewer people willing to apply.

The board sets expectations in the hiring process. If the chancellor doesn't like the way the president is fulfilling the mandates, Carpenter said, the president could be fired.

"Leadership is not so much about compelling people to do things," he said. "It's causing people to want to do something."


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