From the Chief’s Desk: Students Must Make Themselves Heard

Buried amongst official correspondence from the College’s Presidential Search Committee is a simple and staggering fact: There are only two students on a committee of 27.

Obviously, though, I am not the only student to take umbrage with this. In our front-page article “Search for College’s Next President Kicks Off,” sophomore Aaron French – one of the two students chosen to sit on the committee – notes that, “There are two students and six faculty, and everyone else is a trustee or administrator, which sort of puts the balance of power against students.“

While he goes on to state the receptivity of other committee members to students’ voices, French’s first point is the most salient. Students, at least in terms of concrete representation, are vastly undermanned.

We are one of the largest constituent groups at this college, though, outnumbered only by alumni and – maybe – interested members of the local community. Further, our tuition fuels St. Mary’s. And I can almost guarantee that at least a portion of the next president’s salary will be paid with our dollars. We deserve a say. Yes, we have been given one, but the approximately 1,958 of us who do not have a seat on the committee must weigh in on the search at every turn.

This point was only amplified  at the first open forum held by the committee last Thursday. Nine students attended; among them were French, the Student Government Association President, the Student Trustee, the Student Trustee-in-Training – who also sits on the search committee – along with the Student Trustee-in-Training Designee and three Point News staffers who were present to photograph and report on the event.

Nine is not enough, especially when the majority of the nine were quasi-obligated to attend. We need to mobilize every student, not just a select few: the biology majors, the Resident Assistants, the lacrosse players, the library denizens, the members of the Black Student Union, no matter what defines us on the campus, we all must have a vested interest in the selection of a new president.

And I believe that we all do. So, we must now show the committee that we sincerely care about the outcome of this campus-changing search. Please come to events, write emails, do anything that is necessary to ensure that the next president of St. Mary’s is a representation of the students who love this institution so deeply.

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