NCSU asks for input in chancellor search

RALEIGH The forums were open to faculty, staff, students, alumni and the public.

The search committee said it wanted ideas to guide its selection of a candidate.

Jim Woodward has been serving as the interim chancellor. He replaced James Oblinger, who resigned in June as the university released e-mails showing he and former Gov. Mike Easley played a role in the hiring of former first lady Mary Easley.

NC State is trying to turn the page on the huge public scandal that led to the resignation of the chancellor, the provost, the chair of the board of trustees and then the firing of Mary Easley.

Leaders at NC State said they thought they had already turned the page on the turmoil, but they still need to replace the two top administrators who resigned under scandal.

"What we want to be sure of is the people we want to talk to won't get discouraged about what they've seen, or heard, or read," said Bob Jordan with the NC State Board of Trustees. "We want to hear what they have to say, that's really important."

Suggestions ran the gamut on Wednesday. One referenced the Free Speech Tunnel and the violent message against President Obama on election night and Oblinger's hesitance to speak out.

"As a Chancellor, you need to be in the forefront leading that way," Director of the GLBT Center Justine Hollingshead said.

Others said the leader of a school with 31,000 students and a $161 million endowment needs to stress research. But overall, faculty and staff said the summer of scandal was over-heated and overblown.

Many thought Oblinger had done a good job. Some said they thought he resigned in haste and would be hard to replace.

"Most of the faculty felt that they understood where this university was to go," Foreign Language and Lit Professor Ruth Gross said. "And so I do feel we were on the right track and this was just a little blip."

The new chancellor position will pay $420,000 a year.

Leaders of the search committee said under a best case scenario, they'd hope to have someone in place on campus by January.

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