The president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP charged the University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Thursday with a lack of transparency in its search for a new Coppin State University president.
Kobi Little, who heads the Baltimore chapter, said the regents have waited months to start a search and failed to appoint a representative of the NAACP to the search committee.
“My concern is about transparency and … about making sure the president of Coppin has the independence and the strength to articulate and advocate a vision that is in the best interests of Coppin,” Little said.
The search committee on Thursday held its first public meeting, which Little attended. He said that there wasn’t enough notice and that the meeting was being held in the middle of the day rather than at night when more people could attend. During the meeting, Little said, the chair of the search committee agreed to meet with him to hear his concerns.
The Board of Regents, the state governing body of the university system, will appoint a new president of Coppin.
The regents will appoint an interim president in the near future, according to Mike Lurie, a spokesman for the system.
As a historically black college, Little says, the institution has not gotten enough money over the years.
“Given the history of white supremacy as relates to HBCUs in Maryland, it seems odd that the chancellor has not been intentional about reaching out to the NAACP and other civil rights organizations,” he said.
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Little has concerns that the new president would be a “functionary that institutes the vision of the Board of Regents.”
Thompson, the first female president of the Baltimore university, announced in January that she would be stepping down to move out of state.
The system’s chancellor spent March 5 at the Coppin campus speaking to faculty, staff, students and alumni about what kind of president they wanted, as well as who they wanted on a search committee.
The regents appointed 19 individuals from a diversity of backgrounds to the search committee, Lurie said in a statement.
A national search firm, Academic Search, will also recruit candidates for the position.
“We are thankful to community leaders such as Rev. Little who hold passion for Coppin and appreciate his encouraging the community to participate in the search process,” Lurie said in a statement.