By Julie Wootton-Greener Las Vegas Review-Journal November 12, 2021
The Board of Regents for Nevada’s higher education system on Friday elected two new leaders to temporarily guide the body while an investigation is underway into the chancellor’s hostile work environment complaint.
The Nevada System of Higher Education’s board selected interim officers during a special meeting, voting Carol Del Carlo in as board chair and Amy Carvalho as vice chair.
Both received seven votes in favor, with regents Laura Perkins, Joe Arrascada, Byron Brooks and Patrick Boylan opposed. Past Board Chair Cathy McAdoo abstained and Vice Chair Patrick Carter wasn’t present at the meeting.
NSHE, which oversees eight public colleges and universities, and more than 100,000 students, is in a difficult situation and is facing uncharted territory, Del Carlo said after the vote.
She said she’ll do her best and will work hard to be “open, transparent and move us forward.”
Del Carlo said she appreciates college and university presidents who are doing a wonderful job running their campuses. “Our business has continued,” she said.
Del Carlo, who represents Carson City, as well as Churchill, Douglas, Esmeralda, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Storey and Washoe counties, and Carvalho, who represents a swath of southeastern Clark County, will lead the board while a third-party investigation is conducted into a hostile work environment complaint that Chancellor Melody Rose submitted in early October.
Last week, McAdoo and Carter — who are named in Rose’s complaint — announced they’ll step down from their leadership roles while the investigation is ongoing. They continue to serve as regents.
They started in those positions July 1 and their terms were slated to run through July 30 of next year.
Del Carlo and Carvalho will begin in their leadership roles immediately and that will continue through either the conclusion of the investigation or June 30, 2022 — whichever comes first.
Del Carlo, who was elected to the board in 2016, was previously board vice chair for a year and led a chancellor search committee last year that unanimously recommended hiring Rose. Carvalho was elected to the board in 2018.
Friday’s meeting was the first time the board has met since Rose’s complaint was made public.
Rose alleged she experienced “abusive treatment” since McAdoo and Carter were selected for their board leadership roles. She attended Friday’s meeting, but didn’t speak during the proceedings.
Earlier this month, Carter also resigned as the leader of a search committee seeking to hire a new chief of staff and special counsel after a candidate alleged his application was improperly reviewed.
Carter recommended the current search process be canceled and an outside firm be hired instead.
During Friday’s meeting, Regent John Moran made a motion to nominate Del Carlo as chair and Carvalho as vice chair, saying he doesn’t think anyone on the board is better suited.
Perkins made a motion to nominate two of the newest regents, Arrascada and Brooks, for chair and vice chair, respectively. The majority of the board voted against that.
Regent Jason Geddes led Friday’s meeting under a rule that the senior regent who’s present will conduct the meeting if the chair and vice chair are unable.
Geddes, who has been on the board since 2006, said he wouldn’t be considered for either of the board leadership positions.
The board received a few public comments thanking McAdoo for her service, as well as some criticism.
David Dazlich, director of government affairs for the Vegas Chamber, told regents that continuing issues with the higher education system are impacting students, faculty and staff, and are a distraction from student success initiatives.
NSHE can’t afford to continue business as usual, he said, adding that the chamber wants to see a chair and vice chair who haven’t previously held the positions.
After the vote, Perkins said she looks forward to the board moving forward with “all of us as a united front.”
Boylan said he’d appreciate being kept in the loop with NSHE business and anything regents are involved in, noting recent events caught him by surprise.
Brooks said he hopes the board can change some of the perceived optics around the Board of Regents and NSHE.
“I know the tasks ahead of you are pretty large in terms of what that looks like,” he told the new board officers, offering to provide additional support if needed.
Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.