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University System of Maryland to discuss search for Loh's replacement at special meeting Wednesday

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents will discuss its search for a new president at the University of Maryland, College Park during a special meeting Wednesday, the system announced Tuesday.

The closed-door discussion also will cover a similar presidential search at Coppin State University, the system said.

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The meeting comes a day after The Baltimore Sun reported that the search to replace University of Maryland President Wallace Loh has yet to begin, despite the fact that Loh announced in October that he would retire in June; and that Loh is receiving significant encouragement from politicians and others to stay on instead.

Loh announced his retirement in the wake of the heatstroke-related death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair following a preseason football team workout in May. He also has strong critics who believe he should retire, if not be fired.

At a post-holiday brunch Sunday hosted by state Sen. James Rosapepe at The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park, Rep. Elijah Cummings said he “begged” Loh to stay.

In response, Loh said: “I very much appreciate his comments, and I serve at the pleasure of the board.”

Coppin State University President Maria Thompson also has said she is retiring.

Mike Lurie, a University System of Maryland spokesman, said he could not comment on the provenance of the special meeting.

The Board of Regents will convene at 3 p.m. in the first floor conference room at the USM Baltimore Columbus Center, at 701 E. Pratt St. in Baltimore. The board will begin by publicly discussing an assessment from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. The nature of that assessment was not clear, and Lurie declined to comment on it.

The association briefed the Board of Regents at a retreat in November about best practices for board leadership, fiduciary duties, “governing during a crisis,” and “oversight of intercollegiate athletics,” among other topics.

After that discussion, the board will vote on whether to reconvene behind closed doors to discuss the presidential searches, which the system said are exempt from the Open Meetings Act.

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