It sounds like much of the Auburn University faculty supports dropping the “interim” part of President Jay Gogue’s title; however, it doesn’t expect — or want — that arrangement to get in the way of finding his permanent replacement.
Or, as Mike Fogle, assistant professor of physics, put it: “Yes, but with limits.”
University Senate Chair Nedret Billor hosted an open forum Tuesday for faculty members to sound off.
Billor said she was told by Wayne Smith, Auburn board of trustees president pro tem, that the board wants to reinstate Gogue for at least a year while preparing to “search for Auburn University’s next president.”
Smith also assured Billor that the faculty, students, staff and other “stakeholders” would be a part of the eventual search process.
About 50 faculty members turned up for the rather low-key meeting, which lasted just under an hour in the Broun Hall auditorium.
Most of the speakers agreed that it’s a good move for a year or two, as long as it leads to a meaningful search for his permanent replacement.
“Dr. Gogue was great, but I’m actually surprised by this proposal, and that we haven’t heard about a plan for a search by now,” said Lourdes Betanzos, professor and undergraduate director of Spanish at the university.
Adult Education Professor James Witte, speaking on behalf of Auburn’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the group “overwhelming supports” the move to drop interim from Gogue’s title; however, he said the new term should be limited to two years and used to “facilitate a thoughtful process” for finding a new president.
“We’ve got at least 12 months now before we even start a new search,” Vogel said.
Billor doesn’t expect Gogue to cling too tightly to his old throne, pointing out that he willingly stepped aside in 2017 for Steven Leath, who resigned this past summer after just two years.
“He does not want to stay here forever ... he is retired,” Billor said.
The faculty in attendance decided against taking a straw poll. However, Billor said she would put out a questionnaire to all campus faculty to gauge the support for removing Gogue’s interim title.