Spare a moment of sympathy for the poor folks at FIU Law.
Having just been through a (very successful) relatively painless Dean search here at UM, I know just how awful even the very best search can be. Now imagine having to do the whole thing in public, thanks to Florida's Sunshine Law: PrawfsBlawg: Deans and Sausages: On conducting a dean search in public and correcting the public record.
I'm for open records, but not for the internal workings of (most) personnel matters, if only because it scares away candidates. In this case, it's hard to see what the public benefit is, and easy to see the costs.
Even attorney-client communications with Florida agencies are public records. I don’t believe that discussions concerning a dean search should be held in higher confidence. If anything, I wish Miami’s dean search had been more open.
Is Acosta still the front-runner?
I doubt he ever was, except in the journalistic imagination, but see Prof. Wasserman’s posting for what we know.
Cf. Why A Practitioner Dean Sounds Like A Better Idea Than It Usually Is
I understand and appreciate the Prof’s complaint, but it’s a given the media will get any effort at nuance wrong. The school is a public entity and has to act accordingly in my view, warts and all.
the dean search is a challenging process. the sunshine law isn’t so much of a burden; its requirments are simple. most of what has been written and blogged about is not required by the sunshine law. some members of the search and screen committee have made public comments about the process in ways that are far more damaging than anything required by the sunshine laws. the problem is not the disclosure required by sunshine laws — the real issue is accountability — some would prefer to mislead and tell half-truths; they skitter like bugs when light is shed upon them.
meetings and deliberations of the search and screen committee are subject to sunshine. discussions among faculty members who are not on the search and screen committee are not subject to disclosure. the faculty has had opportunities to discuss the dean search and consider the candidates without public scrutiny.
thanks for the sympathy, though. i’m sure it’ll be needed during the process and beyond.