Senate hears concerns on student representation in chancellor search process

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Mikaela Raphael/Staff

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During its Wednesday meeting, the ASUC Senate addressed questions of transparency and student representation in the search for UC Berkeley’s next chancellor ahead of Campus Day.

Campus Day is a closed event Oct. 6 when the 17-member advisory body, which will nominate and advise the UC president on candidates for the next chancellor, will meet at UC Berkeley for the first time. At the event, 20 selected students will give their input on candidates for the next chancellor, according to ASUC President Will Morrow.

SQUELCH! Senator Anthony Carrasco said at the meeting that an extensive amount of information about Campus Day was withheld from the student body, including that a group of 20 students would be given a designated time to voice comments before the committee. He added later that, given transparency concerns, he was unsure if this would be the only time students other than the committee’s two designated student representatives — Morrow and Graduate Assembly President Iman Sylvain — would be able to speak directly to the full committee.

“This is very concerning that we have 36,000 students who will be given 45 minutes on one day in a closed session,” Carrasco said. “These 20 students were selected with an extremely small, insignificant amount of student input.”

Morrow said at the meeting that he learned about the full extent of student involvement on Campus Day at the same time as the rest of the senate, even though he is on the search committee.

Morrow added at the meeting that he was contacted about suggesting students for the panel earlier through an email from Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell. Morrow apologized to the senate for not responding to the email fast enough, thereby missing a chance to recommend anyone for the panel.

“By the time I’d gotten back, (Greenwell) already moved forward with other folks, filling that gap,” Morrow said during the meeting. “That’s where the ASUC representation didn’t come through, and for that I apologize.”

He added that the ASUC Office of the President will be hosting an open forum for students to attend and voice feedback about the selection process Oct. 4. The forum will be in East Pauley Ballroom from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will be hosted by the two student representatives to the search committee, though other committee members have been invited.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry Le Grande also mentioned the necessity for more communication between the faculty and students at the meeting. Le Grande related the importance of student input on Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ replacement.

“Student voices are relatively muted,” Le Grande said at the meeting. “I found my role trying to bring that to the forefront. The students are here and they should be engaged … in what we’re doing.”

Contact Sakura Cannestra at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SakuCannestra.

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article and its accompanying headline may have implied that the entire ASUC met Wednesday. In fact, it was a meeting of just the ASUC Senate.
The photo attached to a previous version of this article depicted an ASUC Executive Cabinet meeting, not an ASUC Senate meeting.