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Our View: No need to rush

The Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees made the right call when members voted unanimously to consider extending the contract of SOU's interim President Roy Saigo beyond its expiration date of next June.

The board, newly empowered to oversee the university since it was created last year, began meeting in January but only took over formal control on July 1. One of its first tasks is to find a new president to replace Mary Cullinan, who resigned on a year ago to become president of Eastern Washington University.

The vote comes just two months after the board took over responsibility for SOU from the state Board of Higher Education, which appointed Saigo. Since the new board will be responsible for hiring Cullinan's permanent replacement, that leaves only a year before Saigo's two-year contract is up. That's not much time to conduct a national search, select finalists and interview them and then make a decision.

If board members need more time to find the right person, they should take it. Meanwhile, the campus is in good hands with Saigo, who has been anything but a caretaker since he arrived last July. The 73-year-old veteran college administrator wasted no time, taking immediate steps to keep students from dropping out before finishing a degree.

The new board has its work cut out to forge a more independent identity for SOU. Choosing the right leader is essential, and until that happens, the university is well-served by having Roy Saigo in place.