The search for Binghamton University’s next president ground to a halt last week when SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced Friday that none of the recommended candidates for the post would be accepted.

The BU Council, which is charged with finding the BU president, discovered that its search — an eight-month process that was completed last December — will have to start anew after a reporter from the Press & Sun-Bulletin called them to ask about it.

According to Kathryn Grant Madigan, chair of the BU Council and the Council’s Presidential Search Committee, a memo from SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher informing the Council that she would not recommend to the SUNY Board of Trustees either of the two candidates they had selected was released to the press before the Council had been notified.

“Before I had even seen the memo, I had gotten a call from the press,” Madigan said. “We learned about it through [the Press & Sun-Bulletin].”

In the letter sent to the Council, Zimpher thanked the Search Committee for its efforts, but noted that after meeting with the two finalists, she and her Executive Committee decided against recommendation.

“While both of these individuals have demonstrated a consistent record of excellence in their careers and as individuals, we have unanimously determined that I will not recommend either to the SUNY Board of Trustees for appointment,” Zimpher wrote in the letter.

Madigan said that the Council was disappointed that neither of the finalists had been chosen.

“I think that all the participants in the search process are very disappointed, given the fact that we had a unanimous council, and we had very open visits with all the candidates,” she said.

Madigan added that the Council had felt it had recommended candidates who were a good fit for BU, based on the “very extensive, positive and well-documented feedback on campus.”

According to Madigan, the finalists, whom she could not name due to the confidentiality of this stage of the search process, had fit the profile approved by the Search Committee. The profile had been approved after the Search Committee met with the Chancellor at their first meeting last April.

“At the end of the day, I would say that our candidates deserve better and I think Binghamton does as well, but I pledge to do whatever I can to work hand and glove with the Chancellor to find whatever candidate she feels would be best for Binghamton,” Madigan said.

Madigan also said that the Council will meet early this week to discuss Zimpher’s decision, and that they would meet with the Chancellor herself around the time of the SUNY Board of Trustees upcoming meeting in Binghamton on March 22.

“When I talked with the Chancellor this morning, I said that the Council and Search Committee would want to meet with her and find out what she thinks Binghamton needs,î Madigan said. “[A new search] is premature at this point, but we will be having continuing conversations with the Chancellor over the next few weeks. Hopefully we’ll have more clarity at that point.”

Sumeet Kalantry, the undergraduate representative on the BU Council, said that he too was disappointed by Zimpher’s rejection of the candidates.

Kalantry said he was “disappointed because the council voted unanimously to send the candidates to the Chancellor, the candidates had a wide range of support.”

Zimpher stated in her letter that she would be asking current BU Interim President C. Peter Magrath to continue in his current role until a successor is found.

“I will be having further conversations with Chancellor Zimpher and will consider staying on,” Magrath said in a statement.

Over eight months, the Council narrowed the candidate pool down to five individuals, each of whom participated in on-campus forums, which averaged between 150 and 200 attendees. The Council further narrowed down the list of candidates, and just two were put up for Zimpher’s review.

According to Madigan, the Council was instructed not to rank the candidates. The Council provided Zimpher with each candidate’s curriculum vitae and statements of their relative strengths and weaknesses.