Students, faculty should be engaged in university presidential search

As the university narrows down the candidates for a new president (may Stephen J. Kopp rest in peace), it is important for students to be informed about each of the candidates and what they would bring to the university.

But what exactly does the university president do? We know it’s a vastly important decision, but exactly how much influence does the president have on the happenings of the university itself?

When it comes down to it, the president’s role is to establish a concrete plan to put the university’s mission statement to action.

A university president should be able to make financial decisions for the university, advocate for state funding and a whole laundry list of other things, but most importantly, a university president should be a personable human whose priority is to the students and faculty.

The president should advocate for our professors to get the pay and benefits they deserve, as well as ensure we have a staff of passionate and knowledgeable professors to mold us into young professionals.

Most importantly, the president should be approachable and engaged with students. Students should be able to voice their concerns to the president. He should be involved with university happenings and make his or her presence known.

Students and faculty as a whole ultimately don’t have a say in the board of governors’ decision.  While this is problematic in many ways, there are reasons for it and it can’t be changed now, so we have to work with what opportunities we have to influence the decision.

That is why it is so important for everyone to attend the meet-and-greet events, talk to the candidates and ask questions and then give feedback to the choosing committee, which includes Student Body President, Duncan Waugaman.

Ask the candidates questions about things you care about. How will he work to keep tuition affordable? How will he deal with sexual assault on campus?

Hopefully, the committee will listen to what the rest of the university has to say, and Waugaman will represent us well when he makes his decision.