By Will Norton-Mosher

Half a year has gone by since the death of UC Santa Cruz’s former chancellor, and the university is still searching for a permanent replacement.

After UC President Robert Dynes announced last summer that Professor George Blumenthal would fill the gap left by Denice Denton, he said the search for a permanent chancellor would begin in the fall. But, as spring quarter approaches, the only word from the Office of the President has been that the search for a new chancellor will begin “soon.”

Whether or not that means the university will have a new chancellor in the coming months is unclear, but nevertheless, the groups who are responsible for selecting candidates for the position have begun murmuring about the future of the university.

Ray Austin, chair of the Student Union Assembly, said that the acting chancellor was doing a good job, but added that short-term leadership might be less inclined toward planning and executing long-term goals.

In a prior interview with City on a Hill Press, Acting Chancellor Blumenthal vowed that he had the long-term future of the university in mind.

“Even though I know that the time is limited for an acting chancellor, I’m going to act as though I’m here forever,” Chancellor Blumenthal said. “I’m prepared to make decisions that are going to affect the long-term future of the university.”

UCSC’s next permanent chancellor will be chosen by the UC Board of Regents from a list composed by a committee of Regents and university staff.

The Academic Senate, composed of all the UCSC staff geared toward tenure, met Jan. 19 to discuss the topics related to the selection of a new chancellor.

One of the main points of discussion during the meeting was the issue of the number of representatives from the UC campuses who will vote on candidates, and whether or not the candidate selection process would be public. While many people supported a transparent process, some members of the Academic Senate thought it better that the process be closed to the public, or only partially open.

Faye Crosby, chair of the Academic Senate, said she believes in an open selection process, but wants only the candidates’ resumes, and not their identities, made public.

“I am totally wedded to the idea of a transparent process,” Crosby said. “But I don’t necessarily want to know the names and the identity of any of the candidates.”

Crosby, who has been involved in the process of selecting previous chancellors, also said that campus needed to represent its candidates early in the process, because if it did not, the future of the campus leadership would fall into the hands of the Regents.

“Here’s the lesson that we learned,” Crosby said, “Our campus can have huge input in what goes on in the beginning of the process, but after the process begins, we can have very little input.”

Forrest Robinson, American Studies professor at UCSC, also believes the selection process should be public, as well as the emphasizing the need for UCSC to be represented in this process.

“Had UCSC been properly represented in the selection of its previous chancellors, and had those searches been conducted more openly, we would have enjoyed much better leadership over the years since the university’s founding,” Robinson said. “No one, I think, seriously doubts this.”