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Committee Trims List Of UMass President Candidates

The committee searching for a new president of the University of Massachusetts system has decided not to start over or expand its search. Instead, it's inviting some of the 11 candidates back for second interviews.

Board of Trustee Vice Chairman James Karam gave the update after the search committee held a meeting Thursday.

The process has been thrown into upheaval after Gov. Deval Patrick and his team expressed concern the search was appearing destined to hire UMass-Lowell Chancellor Martin Meehan.

The governor and his aides feared a backlash for a political hire, since Meehan was a seven-term member of Congress before he took over his alma mater nearly four years ago. The governor has also said he wants a fair and open search and a diverse pool of candidates.

The involvement led Meehan to withdraw from the search, and UMass Board Chairman Robert Manning to resign his post.

On Thursday, Karam defended Patrick, saying the governor didn't unduly interfere. "I didn't have that feeling," he said.

Karam said two candidates besides Meehan have dropped out as well, but not because of Patrick's intervention.

Current UMass President Jack M. Wilson is stepping down when his term ends June 30.

The Associated press contributed to this report.

This program aired on December 17, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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