Filed Under:  Education

Third SUNO chancellor finalist withdraws name

28th November 2016   ·   0 Comments

In less than six months, efforts by a search committee and the Southern University System to replace Southern University at New Orleans Chancellor Dr. Victor Ukpolo, who stepped down on June 30 after more than a decade at the helm, have been impeded by a third finalist for the post who has withdrawn her name form consideration. reported that Boyce Watkins Williams attributed her decision to step down in mid-November to “the extended nature of the search and developing reports of fiscal concerns for the SUNO campus” in an email to SUNO and Southern University officials, Williams reportedly also cited “challenges with the Southern University Law Center and the AARP grant.”

Williams’ withdrawal of her name from consideration for the SUNO chancellor post was preceded by those of two other candidates who did not provide a reason for bowing out.

The sole remaining finalist for the position is SUNO interim chancellor, Lisa Mims-Devezin, a SUNO alum and longtime faculty member and department head.

After two candidates for the post withdrew their names earlier this fall Southern University System President-Chancellor Ray Belton announced in October that the SUS was re-opening the search to gather additional candidates to succeed Chancellor Ukpolo, who said he plans to return to his native country of Nigeria after a brief stint as an educator at SUNO.

While Boyce Watkins Williams’ decision to drop out of consideration is an obvious setback in efforts to find a new chancellor, HBCU Digest reported that the Southern University System will announce the names of additional candidates at its November 25 meeting. reported that it is unclear which fiscal reports Williams was referring to in her email. SUNO reportedly failed to pass a financial evaluation this past summer but has submitted a corrective action plan. State budget cuts could cut $161,806 from the $6.6 million SUNO expects to receive from the state.

It was also reported that the search committee almost nixed Williams’ name from the list of finalists last month because some committee members didn’t think she had enough administrative experience to fill the position.

Although Belton has not set a deadline for applying for the SUNO chancellor post, reported that the position was not listed on the SUNO or Southern University System website on Nov. 18, or on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s job search page.

Lisa Mims-Devezin is currently the only remaining candidate from the original pool of applicants for the SUNO post who is still being considered.

This article originally published in the November 28, 2016 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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