B-CU president search goes on

Despite the new Board of Trustees chair’s effort to hold it up, the interviewing process is underway

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BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) is moving forward in its search for a new president despite a plea from the interim Board of Trustees chair to hold up the process.

Interviews started this week for three finalists. None of the candidates have been a president at a university or college. Only one attended an HBCU and only one has worked at one.

Dr. Elrie LaBrent “Brent” Chrite; Dr. Alan D. Robinson and Dr. Marcia Constan were chosen from 60 candidates by AGB Search, a Washington, D.C.based firm hired by B-CU to do the search.

The candidates

Chrite is dean of the College of Business at the University of Denver and former dean and professor of Management and International School of Business at Montclair State University.

Constan is the vice president for Enrollment and Student Services at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last year, she was a finalist for president at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Robertson is the former senior vice president of Business and Finance at Morehouse College and a former vice president of Finance and Administration at Prairie State College in Chicago. He has 20 years of experience in higher education.

The interview process includes an opportunity for the candidates to meet with students as well as members of the community.

The search committee hopes to have a recommendation for BCU’s Board of Trustees in early February.

Alumni pleased

The Concerned Constituents Committee for Bethune-Cookman University (CCC/B-CU), mostly a group of alumni, have called for removal of the Board of Trustees, inclusion in the presidential search, and for a forensic audit.

The CCC/B-CU is content with the finalists.

“We are pleased. It’s a lot to be considered. What we have heard, it is harder to get certain candidates due to the school’s situation, which often deters many top-notch candidates, but we think they’ve found some,’’ said Sumner Hucheson, co-chair of CCC/B-CU.

Their members will attend student, alumni and community sessions with the candidates on campus this week.

Hucheson confirmed, “We have some members attending. We plan to have more. We want our alumni and friends to be involved. We’ve had good responses.”

Student urges caution

Students are hopeful that the best candidate is chosen to ensure the school’s future.

Lashonda Lassiter, a graduating senior, told the Daytona Times, “The presidential search being made transparent is a key component of restoring faith in the selection process and standing leadership.

“However, I find it equally important to look beyond the candidates’ resume. Resumes have led us astray. Actions and deeds leave a track record to be observed and must be thoroughly vetted to ensure that character and integrity are old traits and not newly acquired.”

She added, “In today’s political climate we see that those in command have the power to put others in power. Currently we have a former president of B-CU who was given power.

“He put others in power and today our beloved B-CU fights for its continued existence.  We must not only choose with precision and caution who will lead this great HBCU back to good standing; we must ensure those they are connected with loyal to and indebted to are of good character as well.” 

‘Atmosphere of mistrust’

Not all of the alumni are pleased. There are reports indicating that the National Alumni Association feels left out of the search. The association did not respond to a request for comment by the Daytona Times’ Wednesday night deadline.

Retired Judge Belvin Perry, who was named the interim Board of Trustees chair this month, has criticized the search. Perry replaces Michelle CarterScott, who had lost the trust of some alum as well as students.

“We are concerned. We’ve heard the interim board chair wants to slow the search. It’s obvious. I think our concern is the conflict of interests. He originally applied for the job. Just look at all the things going on between the former board chair and interim president [Hubert Grimes],” Hucheson stated.

“Unfortunately, it has created an atmosphere of mistrust. We look forward to the next president being appointed as soon as possible and coming in and doing the work which is exactly needed.’’

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