From The Akron Beacon Journal

Before a final decision was reached in January, Kent State’s search for a new president may have come down to two finalists, according to records released by the university.

The university paid its search firm for two press checks and two media background screenings for candidates to replace retiring President Lester Lefton.

That led to the appointment of Beverly Warren, provost of Virginia Commonwealth University.

But details of the nine-month, $250,000-plus search remain obscure.

While Kent State has provided at least three batches of public records at the request of the Akron Beacon Journal, the invoices do not include the names of those interviewed and who the other finalist was, if indeed there was one.

In a phone interview, KSU general counsel Willis Walker said his office has forwarded Beacon Journal records requests to the search firm, Storbeck Pimentel and Associates of Media, Pa., and allowed the search firm to determine what the newspaper would receive.

He said some records sought by the Beacon Journal may be proprietary or may no longer exist.

“What we sent is what they sent,” Walker said. “Nothing required them to keep the records. It may be their practice to not keep records. It is probably their internal process to keep it as private as possible.”

A request for comment from Storbeck Pimentel about why the records were not provided has gone unanswered. “I don’t think they have any interest in talking to you,” Walker said.

The Ohio Public Records Act says resumes and application materials obtained by public offices in the hiring process are to be made public.

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