The Appalachian

Defending closed searches

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Dear Mr. Bragg,

I’m afraid your recent editorial about Appalachian State University’s next chancellor, Sheri Noren Everts, is a misguided attempt at making closed searches for officials a freedom of the press and a First Amendment issue.

If The Appalachian truly wanted to push the issue, a Freedom of Information Act request or court order could have been requested and sent to the school because it is a public institution. But the problem with that, and perhaps the paper understood this, hence the lack of action, is that it wouldn’t hold up in court for one simple reason: releasing that information threatens the current livelihood of the applicants in question.

You say that you are excited for what she could bring to the university based on her past, but you fail to recognize that many of the applicants were already holding jobs elsewhere, continuing to do that good work.

If the university tells its candidates that it is going to release their names at any time before an official chancellor is hired, it loses many, many valuable candidates that may have been a great fit here because they have jobs elsewhere. And if their current employer sees they’re applying elsewhere, that can be foreseen as a conflict of interest and could be grounds for termination.

That’s a very real fear for candidates and is the real world truth of the matter. If this wasn’t the case, than perhaps The Appalachian could get its wish for openness.

But, for the sake of openness, let’s hold everyone to this standard, the public still doesn’t know who was hired to replace you, Mr. Bragg, as editor-in-chief at The Appalachian. Should the community have a say? No, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. The student body should have an idea who is running, shouldn’t it? It should know who is selected, shouldn’t it? I’m being led to believe so, so I’m just simply curious.

There were also several issues with stories over the past few years in which you were on staff at The Appalachian. While statements were made, I don’t believe there is a soul on campus that accepted their account of what happened, when simply they wanted to know what went wrong and how they planned to prevent it in the future. However, that’s not what happened. Openness? I’m not so sure.

Also, if I was still the sports editor of The Appalachian and still had my vote, I would have voted no to this whole issue. It still would have happened, but with one less name.

But I also understood as sports editor that if I was planning on searching for a job as sports editor at the Watauga Democrat or another rival Boone newspaper, that information could not be public to my employer because, should I not get the job, my loyalty would be questioned by my current job and it would be an issue for the foreseeable future.

Sincerely,

Andrew Clausen,
Sophomore journalism major

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