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Jerilyn McIntyre, University of Utah vice president for academic affairs, was chosen Friday to serve another stint as temporary president of the U.

In a teleconference vote, the Utah Board of Regents voted to appoint McIntyre acting president of the university while President Arthur K. Smith is on leave through April 1.She is likely to also be named interim president after April 1, a job she held for two months before Smith became U. president in 1991.

McIntyre has been a professor of communication at the U. since 1977. She has also served as associate dean of the College of Humanities and was an associate vice president from 1988 to 1990. She was named academic affairs vice president on Aug. 20, 1990.

Smith, who was appointed president and chancellor of the University of Houston, announced earlier this week that he had accepted a regents' offer of a two-month, paid leave of absence beginning Jan. 16.

With the search for his replacement under way, the Utah Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has asked the Board of Regents to give the public a better view of the state's college president selection process.

Through a "cooperative and constructive approach," balance can be struck between the regents' goal of recruiting a qualified president and the interest of the public in evaluating the process and candidates, said SPJ attorney Jeffrey J. Hunt.

In a letter this week to regents chairman Kenneth G. Anderton, Hunt proposed a compromise that would give the public access to the names, resumes and application records of the "finalists" for president.

Under existing policy, the 16 regents and their appointed search committees promise confidentiality to all presidential applicants and nominees. Only the name of the person selected for the job is disclosed and only after the regents have already voted.

That closed approach is currently being employed in the selection of a replacement for Southern Utah University President Gerald R. Sherratt, who will retire effective June 30.

With the SUU selection nearing a conclusion, the SPJ request focuses primarily on the search for a replacement for Smith, which was launched just last month.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to take up the issue at its Jan. 24 meeting and could modify the policy before either the U. or SUU finalists are chosen, said Patricia Crane, assistant commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education.

However, Crane said while the SPJ request will be carefully evaluated, higher education officials continue to express concerns that many highly qualified administrators simply won't apply for Utah college presidencies if their names are made public.

The process of selecting a permanent replacement for Smith begins this month with the 22-member search committee holding public meetings to identify the skills and characteristics desired of the new U. president.

After March 7, the committee will begin reviewing candidate files and select 10 to 15 individuals for interviews. The list will then be shortened to at least five finalists, whose names will go to the regents for the selection. It is those five or more names that the SPJ wants released.

Smith was picked in November to be chancellor and president of the University of Houston System, a job he will assume April 1. Houston Board of Regents announced that Smith was the sole finalist a month before a vote on the selection to give the public and institutions an opportunity to comment and evaluate the candidate.

Hunt alluded to Houston's procedures in his letter to Anderton, saying, "I am well aware that our compromise proposal easily could be circumvented by having the search committee nominate a single finalist for the regents' consideration."

SPJ is willing to take that risk, Hunt said, "but I do not believe the search committee or the regents would manipulate the process in such a manner solely to frustrate public access."

In support of its proposal, SPJ cited recent interpretations of the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, which governs access to government activities and records in the state "to prevent secrecy in public affairs."

According to Hunt, there is no provision in the law that expressly exempts from disclosure the records of applicants for significant public positions, "such as president of the state's flagship university."

While GRAMA may protect evaluative records relating to tenure, faculty appointments, retention decisions and promotions in higher education, it doesn't cover the names and professional qualifications of applicants for university president, Hunt argued.

"Moreover, even assuming one of GRAMA's statutory exemptions to access applies to the candidate records, the public still is entitled to access if the interests favoring access outweigh the interests favoring nondisclosure," he added.

For example, in a recent case brought by the Provo Daily Herald, Fourth District Judge Anthony W. Schofield held that the public interest in access to the names and resumes of the finalists for the job of Orem City manager outweighed the city's interest in concealing the information.

In that case, Orem did not appeal the judge's ruling, and the names were disclosed to the public.

"Surely, if the citizens of Orem are entitled to know the identities and qualifications of the finalists for the Orem City manager position, the citizens of Utah should be entitled to obtain such information concerning the candidates for the presidency of its flagship institution of higher learning," Hunt said.