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The March 11 issue of the Muleskinner, the weekly student newspaper at the University of Central Missouri, included a front page article on an unfilled Missouri Sunshine Law request pertaining to the search for a new president for the institution. This morning a significant number of newspapers were scattered about the University’s visitor lot (and the University president’s designated parking spot) and along South Street. We had heard rumors that previous issues of the paper had gone missing from campus newsstands.

At the entrance to visitor parking.

Along South Street.

Along South Street.

It couldn’t have been because of the headline story, could it?

This couldn’t have been about the headline story, right? Nor stories about an armed robbery near campus, or funding for a campus center which helps youngsters with autism…

It was probably just someone who doesn’t like to read.

There is that story asking about the number of applicants, though:

Request denied for number of presidential applicants

Patrick Nolan: Muleskinner

Issue date: 3/11/10 Section: News

In response to a Sunshine Law request by the Muleskinner, the Board of Governors last week refused to provide the number of applicants for the open position of University president….

….The number of applicants doesn’t seem on the surface to be information that can be closed under the Sunshine Law as there is no individually identifiable information contained within a number.

However, Setser said he reads the law allowing to close the records and the University decided to keep the number of applications confidential for the time being.

“At some point it may be that we decide to release more information,” Setser said. “It’s all geared for what we think is best for the presidential search process….”

[emphasis added]

That’s very interesting. Somebody forgot to tell the search consultant who has an $80,000 contract with the University. From the January 28, 2010 issue of the Muleskinner:

…With the narrower time frame, the Board, along with Hutchinson and Baker and Associates, has mailed out 216 letters to various presidents of universities across the nation as of Jan. 20. They are also advertising the position in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues of Higher Education, Women’s Issues in Higher Education and Hispanic Outlook. UCM has received nine applications for the position so far. Seven candidates responded to the mailed letters, and two responded to the advertisements. There isn’t a set due date for resumés, but the Board believes the optimal date would be March 1, 2010….

[emphasis added]

So much for experience. It would appear that a few people need to work on keeping their ducks in a row.