Search committee now accepting nominees

Dr.+Diana+Natalicio%2C+president+of+UTEP%2C+said+a+few+words+about+the+relationship+between+UTEP+and+Mexico.

Sergio Muñoz

Dr. Diana Natalicio, president of UTEP, said a few words about the relationship between UTEP and Mexico.

Brianna Chavez, Reporter

The Presidential Advisory Search Committee is now accepting nominations and applications for the next UTEP President through a website launched by the UT System, as promised by the committee and Russell Reynolds and Associates.

The website also allows the public to give input on what they would like to see in the next UTEP President. Comments and nominees can be made anonymously.

In late August, the UT System announced that a committee was selected to help choose the next UTEP President and Russell Reynolds and Associates, a global search firm, would be assisting them.

President Diana Natalicio announced she would be retiring after 30 years as UTEP President.

In October, the search committee along with representatives from Russell Reynolds held a town hall meeting in the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall to receive input from the UTEP and El Paso community.

Russell Reynolds took time to explain to the audience how the selection process will work.

The search firm will spend about two months recruiting candidates and will share each candidate they have selected plus the candidates who have applied for the job, as well as those who have declined with the committee.

The search committee will then select around 12 people and conduct two rounds of interviews to determine who they will select to present to the Regents. The entire process is confidential.

At the meeting, the firm promised 100 percent transparency between the firm, the committee and the community.

Unfortunately, the announcement of the search committee, as well as the confidentiality of the process, led to some controversy. It was addressed by community members at the meeting, including former UTEP Professor, Oscar Martinez.  

On Sept. 14, the El Paso Times published a guest column written by Martinez, stating that he and 28 other prominent members of the community from a variety of backgrounds believed there was a lack of inclusiveness in the presidential search and that several members of the committee represent the business sector in El Paso.  

At the meeting, Martinez reiterated what he wrote in the El Paso Times.

“It is not hard to imagine that business elite will dominate and spear the selection of candidates their way,” Martinez said.

Another concern that was addressed was the selection process that the University of Texas at San Antonio went through in 2017.

UTSA went through the same process of selecting a president. The UT System faced a backlash from the San Antonio community for not being transparent and failed to consider Latino candidates.  

Martinez and the adherents of the letter feared that what happened in San Antonio last year, will happen in El Paso.

“Because the UTEP search will be conducted in secrecy, the only way to allay suspicions and prevent protests regarding the UTEP search is for the regents to appoint more at-large community representatives to the committee,” Martinez said.

In response, Leslie reiterated that the committee is selected per UT System rules and regulations.

He also tried to assure the audience that the committee and the firm will do everything they can to make sure they selected the right candidates.

To provide input, nominate someone or submit an application visit www.utsystem.edu/utep-president-search

Brianna Chavez may be reached at [email protected]