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Western Carolina University chancellor interviews to begin next week

The UNC Board of Governors is facing the twin challenges of replacing both the UNC System President and chancellor of its flagship campus, UNC-Chapel Hill.

But while those searches have yet to properly begin, a second attempt at finding a new chancellor for Western Carolina University is well underway.

The university has received 58 applications for the position and have identified ten candidate for initial interviews. The Board of Governors, who will hear a report on the search at Friday’s full board meeting, is expected to vote on the final candidate by April.

As Policy Watch reported back in July, the first search for a chancellor was scuttled when board of governors member Tom Fetzer leaked confidential candidate information to a private firm for investigation. He then used information the firm provided to argue that the candidate, whose name was withheld during the search, had provided inaccurate information when applying for the job.

The candidate abruptly withdrew from the search and board members and then-UNC President Margaret Spelling, who had chosen the final candidate, criticized Fetzer for compromising the candidate’s confidentiality and disturbing the established candidate search process.

Fetzer argued that the process itself was inadequate and he simply did what he had to do in order to be sue due diligence was done.

Fetzer later revealed he had a conversation with UNC President Margaret Spellings about being interim chancellor at the school, where he was once a trustee. Two former trustees at the school asked if they could put his name forward, Fetzer said, but in a telephone conversation with Spellings he was told she had already decided on an interim.

Fetzer denied he pursued the chancellor’s position himself.

The search, which had to that point cost $90,000, was begun again.

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