ROPER: Hopes to hire ECU interim chancellor within a month

Published: Mar. 25, 2019 at 12:43 PM EDT
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In just a month, East Carolina University could be seeing a new interim chancellor to replace Cecil Staton.

The Interim UNC System President visited the university Monday to start the search for a new leader.

"I am here today to begin the process of getting advice towards my decision that I will be needing to make probably within two or three weeks," Interim UNC System President Bill Roper said.

Roper sat down with Board of Trustees members during a morning meeting to review the characteristics they want to see in the new interim chancellor.

Board of Trustees Chairman Kieran Shanahan said it is important the new leader is very familiar with this part of the state.

"You would sort-of look to people who were familiar to the university, and familiar to Eastern Carolina that I think can step in and immediately hit the ground running and not spend three months trying to find their way around campus," Shanahan said.

While Staton's replacement will sign on to be a transitional leader, Roper said the interim title should not undermine their authority.

"This is to be a real person with the authority as chancellor to make the decisions that need to be made to push ECU forward," Roper said.

It's no secrete there has been some tension between the Board of Governors and the ECU Board of Trustees. But coming together Monday, the Trustees and the UNC President seem to agree that moving forward they will need to work together to help calm the waters and help reset the university.

Roper will ultimately be the one to hire the new interim chancellor; however, he said he is getting feedback from university leaders to help find the right fit.

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The head of the UNC System says he hopes to hire an interim chancellor for East Carolina University within the next month.

One week after Cecil Staton announced he would step down as chancellor in May, ECU trustees met this morning with interim UNC president Bill Roper.

Roper, and ECU Board Chair Kieran Shanahan, said anyone coming into the chancellor position needs to be able to hit the ground running. That means the interim chancellor would need to be someone who is very familiar with Eastern Carolina and the university.

Roper will head the search for the interim chancellor, as he will ultimately be the one to hire Staton's permanent replacement.

"The fact of this is the interim chancellor should not be read as this is a temporary caretaker, keep things peaceful kind of a person," said Roper. "This is to be a real person with the authority as chancellor to make the decisions that need to be made to move ECU forward."

Staton was forced to resign after just three years as chancellor.

It's no secret that there has been tension between ECU trustees and members of the UNC Board of Governors over Staton's resignation. After today's meeting, Roper and the trustees seemed to agree that moving forward they'll need to work together and give ECU a bit of a reset.

The interim UNC president is visiting the campus to get feedback about the qualities the new leader at ECU must have.