Candace McGraw


M. Christopher Brown II’s resignation as president of Kentucky State University has drawn headlines throughout the state and country.

But two members of the school’s Board of Regents left from the board — days before Brown penned his resignation — without any public notice.

Candace McGraw and Paul Harnice resigned on July 13 and 14. Brown's resignation was accepted at the July 20 Board of Regents meeting, read into the record via a letter dated July 15.

McGraw confirmed her resignation to The State Journal on Wednesday night, later forwarding the letter she sent to Regent Chair Elaine Farris, Brown and a staff member at Gov. Andy Beshear's office.

"I was not fully aware of the time needed to engage fully in order to ensure the ongoing success of the university," McGraw's resignation reads. "Since I would not be able to fulfill my responsibility to the best of my ability, I believe the university would be better served by another appointee."

McGraw, the CEO of CVG Airport in the Cincinnati area, and Regent Paul Harnice were both called on but marked absent during the board’s roll call at Tuesday's special-called meeting. All nine other regents were present.

Unlike McGraw, Harnice has not responded to repeated requests for comment or confirmation of his resignation.

Neither the governor’s office nor anyone at KSU, including acting President Clara Stamps and Board of Regents Chair Elaine Farris, has acknowledged the resignations from the board.

To my knowledge, Kentucky State has not received any notifications from the governor's office concerning regents' resignations,” Stamps wrote in an email sent on Tuesday.

Governor’s office spokesperson Crystal Staley has yet to respond to a request for confirmation of McGraw and Harnice's resignations.

A source with knowledge of the situation initially alerted The State Journal of both McGraw’s resignation and that of Harnice.

Harnice's letter of resignation provides no discernible reason for his decision.

"The purpose of this letter is to advise you that I have decided to resign from the Board of Regents of Kentucky State University effective immediately," Harnice said. "It goes without saying that I wish the best to Kentucky State University, its employees and students going forward."

McGraw served just over one week on the board, attending a single meeting that featured a lengthy closed session discussion of pending litigation and “individual personnel matters,” as well as approval of establishing a new line of credit.

Harnice joined the board in October 2016, and vouched for then-interim President Aaron Thompson’s candidacy for the permanent KSU presidency during the board’s search. 

Is this really the best we can do?” Harnice asked when Brown was selected to become president in a 7-3 vote.

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