Controversy has surrounded Mike Garrison's candidacy for president of WVU.
A lot of people are concerned the search process is a done deal because of Garrison's close ties to members of the Board of Governors, who will chose David Hardesty's successor.
Garrison – an attorney and former chief of staff for former Governor Bob Wise -- faced some of those doubters during a question and answer session on WVU's campus.
Before the questions, Garrison spoke about his family ties to WVU, his time there as a student, and his family's decision to return to Morgantown from Charleston to raise their two daughters.
He said, “West Virginia University has given everything to me. I’m prepared to start giving back.”
You could read skepticism on the faces of some in the crowd: and it didn't take long for that to hit the microphone. Paul Brown with the Health Sciences Center told Garrison, “I believe your appointment would further demoralize WVU faculty, chasing our best scholars away, and hindering recruitment of best faculty available. Can you be persuaded to withdraw your candidacy?”
To that, Garrison gave a resounding no. Instead, he repeated his pledge to work with faculty to make the best decisions for the university's future.
Garrison's supporters, like this faculty senate member, also lined up to be heard. One faculty senate member said, “There are faculty who feel as though you are a whole candidate, not a half candidate.”
Garrison and Kansas State Provost Duane Nellis are the finalists to replace President David Hardesty, who's retiring. Nellis is a former dean of WVU's college of arts and sciences.
The Board of Governors is expected to make a decision by Friday, April 13th.