UI spent $170,000 on search for new chancellor
CHICAGO — The University of Illinois spent $170,500 on its search for a new Urbana chancellor, which culminated in the hiring of Phyllis Wise.
About $154,000 of that spending was for an executive search company and its expenses, said spokesman Thomas Hardy.
The UI released a heavily-edited 355 pages of search documents Thursday afternoon.
The state had granted, in a letter Wednesday, a UI request to block The News-Gazette from getting some information about the search for a new chancellor.
The News-Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Act request Aug. 4 seeking financial records involved in the search.
Hardy had argued in an Aug. 16 letter to the state's public access counselor that the information would violate the privacy rights of the applicants, and asked the public access counselor to pre-authorize a denial of The News-Gazette request.
Deputy Public Access Counselor Sara Gadola Gallagher said in letter released Wednesday that in her opinion the UI is correct in arguing that releasing the names of unsuccessful candidates is a violation of privacy rights.
"The disclosure of an unsuccessful candidate's name could negatively impact that individual's current employment and a public body's ability to attract qualified applicants for open positions," she wrote.
"Thus, the unsuccessful applicant's right to privacy with respect to their names outweighs any legitimate public interest in disclosure, which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the unsuccessful applicants' personal privacy" under the statutes.
The News-Gazette sought the information, as it did with the search for president that resulted in hiring Michael Hogan, because tax dollars are spent and the officer is a public figure. The UI has argued that publicity about the search could deter highly qualified administrators from applying for the positions.
The search for Hogan in 2010 cost a little more than $330,000. The search firm in that case, Isaacson, Miller, received almost $160,000, with another $142,000 for lodging, travel and food expenses for candidates and faculty.
Though records obtained from the UI in the presidential search were heavily redacted, The News-Gazette learned the identities of two runners-up and other candidates for Hogan's job.