Approaching Campus Day raises concerns about student involvement

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Student representation in the search for the new UC Berkeley chancellor is becoming a larger issue as more information about Campus Day and the policies surrounding the event are released.

On Oct. 6, the 17-person chancellor search committee will be meeting with a group of 20 UC Berkeley students as well as members of the faculty, staff and other stakeholders. The committee will be meeting with the students at the California Memorial Stadium Field Club from 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m, according to an email sent to the participating students.

The series of meetings, called Campus Day, have all been arranged by the UC Office of the President in correspondence with UC regent policies, according to the two student members of the committee, ASUC President Will Morrow and graduate representative Iman Sylvain.

ASUC Senator Anthony Carrasco said there is a lack of communication between UCOP and campus regarding this event as well — students who will be attending the meeting received an outline of the day’s plans about a week beforehand in the email. This information has not been made available to the general student population.

“The committee is very regent and faculty heavy,” Sylvain said after recently resigning as Graduate Assembly president. “Ideally we’d have equal representation between students, faculty, staff and regents in the decisions.”

Sylvain added that the faculty sub-committee within the search committee will meet before Campus Day and will be able to choose which applicants advance to interviews. She doesn’t understand the necessity of a faculty sub-committee, but hopes she and Morrow will “feel included during that process.”

The information presented to the search committee in the Campus Day meeting will be compiled into a “public document intended to frame the opportunities and challenges facing the next chancellor, as well as the desired experiences and qualifications of potential candidates,” UC spokesperson Claire Doan said in an email.

While releasing the information is an effort to make Campus Day more transparent to students, many wish that there was more student representation in the committee.

“(UCOP) is using the upcoming Campus Day on the sixth as a rubber stamp — what they call the student input, but in reality it is not,” said Carrasco.

In an effort to better represent the student body, Sylvain and Morrow organized a survey and student forum where they plan to collect data on what students hope for in the new chancellor. Morrow said the student forum will be filmed and shown to the committee — committee members have been invited to attend the student-run forum and hear student opinions as well.

He added that students who do not feel comfortable sharing their feelings publicly can use the survey to contribute their opinions anonymously, and that it is a better tool for collecting general student interests.

“We hope that we can use both the forum and the survey to better inform all the representatives on the search committee, so that even if there’s just two of us students on it, we make sure that other students voices are heard,” Morrow said.

The student forum will be taking place Oct. 4 in Pauley East Ballroom from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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