The University of Wyoming must disclose the names of the finalists in its presidential search after a search committee forwards its recommendations to the Board of Trustees, a state judge ruled on Wednesday. The list of the five or more finalists is due to the trustees on or after February 5, the Associated Press reported.
The trustees had hoped to keep the names of the candidates confidential. In a written statement, the board’s president, Dave Bostrom, expressed disappointment in the ruling. The trustees believed they had made “a compelling case that identifying finalists would cause substantial injury to the public interest by significantly reducing the pool of candidates,” he said, adding that the university was considering an appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
While some states have “sunshine laws” that require open searches for leaders of public institutions, Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill that would specify that searches there remain closed. State Rep. Kermit Brown, a Republican, said that without the promise of confidentiality, presidents and other high-ranking officials at other institutions would not apply for openings because they would fear retaliation by their current employers. He suggested that the bill could be passed and signed into law before the deadline in the University of Wyoming search. “Hopefully we can head this off,” he told the Associated Press.