Taft begins search for KSU’s new trustee

Rachel Abbey

The Kent State Board of Trustees is looking for a new member.

The death of trustee James Schubert at the end of last semester left a vacancy in the Board, which, in the midst of Kent State’s presidential search, needs to be filled soon, said Charlene Reed, secretary to the Board of Trustees.

However, no one has applied for the position yet, said Mark Rickel, press secretary for Gov. Bob Taft.

“They’ve just started the process,” he said.

Some states elect their trustees, but Ohio’s are appointed by Taft, Reed said.

The governor’s office is now seeking applications and nominations, Rickel said. These individuals will undergo background checks, although the only official state requirement to be a trustee is an Ohio residence.

The governor will often seek input from the leader of a university and the existing Board of Trustees, Rickel said. But the final decision is his alone.

Kent State has virtually no control over who is appointed, said R. Douglas Cowan, chairperson of the Board of Trustees. He said some individuals might get appointed because of his or her political affiliation with the governor’s party. Most of the time, though, it is not apparent why one applicant is chosen over another.

“These are the types of questions that are asked: What type of background? Has the individual been involved?” Rickel said.

The governor is likely to choose someone who has been an active leader in business, philanthropic or academic pursuits, he said. What kind of geographic and demographic diversity an individual could bring to the board is also taken into account.

One of Kent State’s assets is the geographic diversity of the board, Reed said. They represent the broad community Kent State serves, from the regional campuses to Cleveland. They are also usually people connected with the university as alumni and/or leaders in northeast Ohio with interest in the university’s mission.

This process occurs once a year and is usually complete by the time a trustee’s term expires, Rickel said. Kent State’s nine full-term trustees serve nine-year terms, which are staggered, so one new trustee is appointed each year.

The person appointed for Schubert will only serve the remainder of his term, until May 2007, Reed said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].