Commish: USM choice must be cloaked

The selection process to appoint a successor to USM President Shelby Thames is about to get underway.

Commissioner of Higher Education Thomas Meredith told Kiwanis Club members in Hattiesburg Thursday that the process involves dual committees and recommendations from alumni, students and various colleges.

He says only after a five-member search committee is picked can the interviewing of presidential candidates begin. Meredith says the reason the names are kept secret is to protect them from retaliation.

"There's a lot of retribution for people that go out and look for other jobs back home," he says. "I tell people it's like telling your wife you might love someone else more than her and you'd like to go on a date to find out. It's probably not going to go very well."

Meredith says a decision on new USM president should come by the end of March.