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By Tanya M.C. Mendiola

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (July 20, 2001 - Pacific Daily News)---University of Guam students insisted on being heard by the college’s Board of Regents before regents met privately to discuss selecting a new UOG president.

The search for a new president was the main issue at last night’s UOG board meeting, and the board remained in a closed executive session, without voting on a new president at press time last night.

Earlier in the meeting, the board received a report from its presidential search committee detailing the committee’s search process, but making no recommendations regarding the three finalists for the presidential job.

Last month, three finalists were chosen by the presidential search committee: Harold Allen, senior vice president for research, strategic partnerships and economic development at Cleveland State University; Arthur Jackson, director of the UOG Financial Aid Office; and Mary Spencer, dean of the UOG College of Arts and Sciences.

Students Michael San Nicolas and Troy Torres remained in their seats after the board voted to go into a closed-door executive session, wanting assurances from board members that an open discussion would occur before any vote was taken on the institution's next president.

Professor Benit Camacho-Dungca, an advisory member of the search committee who has criticized the search process, remained with the students after they refused to leave the room to allow regents to go into executive session to discuss the report and the board's next step in the presidential selection process.

None of the finalists were present at last night’s meeting. For the past 18 months, the university has been without a permanent president.

Search committee Chairman Enrique Castro read aloud his three-page report, which outlined the steps taken by the 10-member committee, stating that "the final action now rests with the full board."

The board postponed a vote on a new president during its June meeting because Castro's report was not ready at that time.

Students asked several times during the meeting to have a chance to speak to regents.

"Can we voice our concerns prior to the voting file?" San Nicolas asked. "I want assurances from the board."

Regents Franklin Quitugua and John Beamer agreed to hear the students, but other board members already had voted to go into executive session.

"Let’s be fair," Quitugua said. "These are students."

The students left the room after Regent Donna Muna-Quinata asked acting UOG President Roy Tsuda to ask them to leave.

The board went into executive session, but quickly recessed from that session to hear students’ and other speakers’ concerns.

In April, a new search committee was activated by former UOG Board Chairman David Shimuzu, when president-select Peter Lee withdrew his candidacy.

The search for a new president began after UOG President Jose Nededog retired from the post in December 1999. Professor Emeritus Roy Tsuda has held the job in an acting capacity since December 1999, after replacing then-acting UOG President Judith Guthertz.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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