Speck refuses to answer questions

University President Bruce Speck again deflected questions concerning an opening for president at Spalding University last fall and whether he applied for the position.

When asked after a Board of Governors meeting to confirm that he did or did not apply for the position, Speck responded: “No, I don’t think that’s – that’s a personal matter,” and walked away.

E-mails received by The Chart through an open-records request show Dr. Brian Chapman, a finalist for a top administrative post last fall, forwarded Speck an e-mail concerning the Spalding position just four days after an overwhelming no-confidence vote by faculty in Speck’s leadership.

“You might want to consider this,” Chapman wrote.

Speck – through University spokesperson Rod Surber – said “no comment” earlier this week when asked if he had applied for the position, and referred all further questions to Spalding.

Governor Dwight Douglas said, “I don’t have any idea” when asked if Speck had applied at Spalding.

Speck also avoided questions about his decision to reopen the search for vice president for academic affairs, which was declared a failure in November. Chapman has been invited by Speck to reapply for the job.

“I’m not interested in talking about that,” Speck said, before turning away.

The president did offer an update on a possible partnership with the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. He said a steering committee tasked with moving the partnership forward was considering other options.

“I think that we have been waiting for KCUMB and at the same time figuring out what would happen if that didn’t happen,” Speck said.

KCUMB’s board of trustees voted against the proposal on Tuesday.

Danny Weaver, the acting president at KCUMB, told The Chart last week that the medical school would be discussed during the April 20 board of trustees meeting, but only from KCUMB’s point of view. He had said another meeting would be scheduled two to three weeks after that, during which Speck and Southern officials would have an opportunity to discuss their side of the proposal, but Tuesday’s 14-0 vote means that meeting won’t take place.

“My last communication with Dr. Weaver was that I asked him if we could come up and present on the 20th at the board meeting,” Speck added. “I have not heard from him since that time.”

According to records obtained by The Chart, Speck sent Weaver an e-mail on Mar. 15 to confirm a presentation at the April 20 meeting.