University of Connecticut student trustees would like to see more student representation on the search committee that has recently been formed to find a new university president.
The 44-person Advisory Search Committee, which was announced on July 18, was created by the board of trustees, according to the Connecticut Post. It will be led by board chair Thomas Kruger and is comprised of board of trustees members, alumni representatives, staff, faculty members and two students.
The two students on the committee are Undergraduate Student Government President Ama Appiah and graduate student Mary Bugbee.
Undergraduate Student Trustee Christine Savino said Graduate Student Trustee Sam Surowitz made a motion to add more students to the committee. That motion was ultimately unsuccessful, according to WTIC.
Surowitz did not respond to requests for comment.
Savino said it is important to get students’ perspectives throughout the decision-making process, as they will be directly affected by what she described as the difficult financial decisions the next president will have to make.
“Adding two students to the larger committee would have broadened the student perspective during the search, built goodwill and strengthened administration-student relations,” Savino said. “As a publicly-funded university with a diverse population, we need to embrace collaborative empathy when making decisions for stakeholders.”
In a written statement, Kruger said the board of trustees’ goal was to make the search committee as broad-based and diverse as possible.
“The views of every member will be considered as each brings their own unique perspective and experiences to the table,” Kruger said. “Leadership matters a great deal at an institution of this size and complexity and the president we name will have an enormous impact on the university and its future.”
The committee will begin interviewing candidates in the fall and is aiming to name the next president in late 2018 or early 2019, the Connecticut Post said. It will be using executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, Inc. to support the search process.
The final decision for UConn’s next president will be made by the board of trustees and the state of Connecticut’s incoming and outgoing governors, according to the Connecticut Post.
Savino said throughout the process of choosing a new president, UConn should pick its battles and work together as a community.
“We all want the best for UConn and sometimes have different perspectives on how to achieve that,” Savino said. “However, that diversity in opinion should be allowed.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.