Salem State presidential pick reflects parochial search process. Students deserve better

Boston Globe
By Shirley Leung
May 30, 2017

Oops. They did it again. With the nomination of John Keenan as the next president of Salem State, the trustees of another public university in Massachusetts passed over more experienced female candidates to put a man in charge.

Barring any last-minute drama, Keenan, the school’s general counsel and a former state legislator, will succeed Patricia Meservey, the lone woman running one of the state’s nine public universities. A decade ago, women helmed five of the nine campuses.

Over the past four years, the boards of these publicly funded schools have failed to find one woman to fill over eight vacancies, from Bridgewater to Westfield State.

Trustees have no excuses, not even the old standby of how there aren’t enough female candidates. Close to 40 percent of the finalists for the top job at our public universities have been women, according to statistics compiled by EOS Foundation, a nonprofit that is seeking to diversify leadership ranks. Keenan bested two female finalists, both of whom had more higher education experience.

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