A former UNLV law school dean and provost has been tapped to serve as interim head of the state’s higher education system, replacing outgoing chancellor Dan Klaich after a series of controversies resulted in his early retirement last week.
The Nevada System of Higher Education board of regents will convene next Friday to discuss and confirm John White to the position of acting chancellor.
Currently a law professor, White has long served in high-level administrative positions at UNLV. He threw his hat in the ring to be president of the university in 2014 but lost out to Len Jessup.
He couldn't be reached for comment.
The news was confirmed Friday by board chairman Rick Trachok. He said White was chosen following discussions with other high-level system staff, including Vice Chancellor Brooke Nielsen and Chief of Staff Dean Gould.
“John is not only very bright, he has the temperament and the administrative skill to work with the board as chancellor during this period,” Trachok said. “I thought that during this key period of time for the system, he would be a good choice.”
Following White’s appointment, the system will turn its attention to finding a permanent replacement for Klaich. In a memo circulated to board members Friday, Trachok said he was in favor of conducting a national search, but would defer to the opinions of each campus community.
“Once we have received the input of these key leaders and groups we will name a Regents’ Chancellor Search Committee and an Advisory Committee to commence the search process,” Trachok wrote.
Regents approved a $309,000 retirement deal for Klaich on May 12.
Klaich was no stranger to controversy — he was the subject of Review-Journal investigations that on two separate occasions accused him of plagiarizing and quashing a report critical of the system. But it was a third story in April accusing him of misleading state legislators that led Klaich to announce his resignation.
His actions were defended by a majority of regents.
Klaich disputed each story, accusing the Review-Journal of taking the emails out of context and misrepresenting his intentions. He also penned a 21-page response addressing the accusations.
His last day with the system is June 2.