Committee searches for new president

The Board of Trustees has assembled an advisory committee to assist in the search for an interim president

Sydney Carpenter | News Editor

On Oct. 8, 2020, current university president Rex Fuller sent out an email to colleagues announcing his plans to retire in fall 2021.

Since the announcement, the Board of Trustees has approved of new “Board Statement on Presidential Vacancies” search guidelines for the interim president — mid-summer 2021 to June–July 2022 — and search guidelines for the regular president. The newly assembled advisory committee consists of Betty Komp, Ryan Hagemann, Jon Carey, Dr. Vivian Djokotoe, Sandra Holland, Dr. Bojan Ilievski, Malissa Larson, Mike Morgan, Nathan Sauer, Dr. Rob Winningham and Alex Ped. The titles of each committee member can be viewed on the presidential vacancy website at

For student representation, the Associated Students of Western Oregon University President NJ Johnson was tasked to suggest a candidate to the board.

“I advocated for more students to be on the committee,” said Johnson, “but that was not what the Board of Trustees voted on and the Board of Trustees is the governing board.”

In his recommendation, Johnson chose junior criminal justice major and ASWOU Senator Elizabeth Braatz.

“I selected Elizabeth because I knew that she could represent the student body in a way that we could be proud of,” said Johnson. “Elizabeth has a really diverse range of student leadership experiences from University Housing and including ASWOU.”

However in the finalized committee, Betty Komp decided to implement her own candidate, Alex Ped, a nontraditional Western student since 2002.

“I asked for suggestions and made it clear diversity was important,” said Komp, “but ultimately I make the decision on who’s on the committee.” 

At this time, the final committee containing 11 community members consists of one person of color. 

The Board of Trustees office has selected March 12 at 11 a.m. to hear from the campus community’s thoughts on how the committee should go about looking for an interim president. The committee will begin to review application materials on March 15.

The story will be updated as more information is released. 

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