The Student Senate passed unanimously a resolution to express its discontent with the presidential search process at its regular meeting Tuesday night in the Student Center.
S. Res – 102-02 address the regents’ recent decision to make the search for the new Eastern Michigan University President a closed selection process, dropping the traditional open forum. An open forum was used when picking former president Susan Martin, who resigned earlier in the year.
Steven Cole, Student Government president, said the problem with the process is that the Board of Regents will essentially pick a candidate, “lift up the curtain and say this is your new president, with no campus interactions at all.”
Students, faculty and staff will not know the names of the applicants with the new process.
In a letter addressed to the members of the Board of Regents from the members of EMU’s faculty senate, concern was expressed over the “very limited, marginal” faculty role in the search.
They said the “secretive search would be a radical departure from the tradition of extensive faculty involvement and openness in presidential searches at EMU and other public universities.”
Options for ensuring a central faculty role in the process where also presented, including a joint search committee composed of equal members of board members and faculty.
The faculty senate said they believe the search is unlikely to produce a president capable of leading EMU unless the process is amended to conform to best practices.
In a letter from Michelle Crumm, the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, to the members of the Faculty Senate, she said there is a “wide and growing consensus that a confidential search process will result in the very best pool of candidates, which might include sitting presidents, chancellors or provosts, who might not want to participate in a process in which their interests in the position would become public.”
Crumm said in the letter that to date, seven out of the 11 candidates have already stated that they would not have applied had the search been public, as many candidates fear current positions will be compromised.
EMU has held 10 listening sessions for “people wishing to voice their concerns and stay informed” and one-on-one meetings with faculty and alumni.
According to the letter, three faculty members will be part of the 12-member committee.
Cole said the landscape of the process is changing and he wanted to gage the senate’s position before issuing an official Student Government statement on the search.
He said after publicly disapproving of the process, Student Government should work to increase campus engagement in the process by adding faculty and students to the committee.
Three new senators were also sworn into Student Senate: Ciara McKinney, Jaren Johnson and Luke Thompson.
Regular committee meetings will be held Oct. 27 in the Student Center.