Student panel voices concerns to chancellor search committee at Campus Day event

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Se Yeon Kim/Staff

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A group of 20 students spoke to the chancellor search committee Thursday about student opinions on the next chancellor highlighting the campus’s need for a leader with experience in financial management, equity and community inclusion.

In addition to recommending important qualities and skills the next chancellor should have, the panel communicated complaints about the lack of student inclusion throughout the search process. Students also suggested methods for conducting the search process and keeping the campus informed.

The event was meant to give the search committee a chance to hear input from multiple campus constituents, allowing 20 faculty-selected students to speak to the search committee in a 45-minute private meeting.  An information sheet detailing the students’ presentation to the search committee criticized Campus Day because the various students, staff and faculty member panels that separately met with the committee were not given any information regarding the meetings of other sections.

“We have, I believe, more than 35,000 students on this campus, so to select a small group of 20 is difficult,” said campus graduate student Derrika Hunt, who was on the student panel. “But I do understand logistically that it may be easier to start with a smaller group.”

The students first presented suggestions on how to conduct the search — they recommended the search be transparent to the campus community and include women and minorities. Though it is difficult to both promote transparency and respect the confidentiality of the process, the information sheet suggested that the search committee share characteristics of the candidates with campus while protecting their identity.

During Campus Day, the students also noted a need for a chancellor who will engage students and “share governance of the university with them.”

At the event, UC President Janet Napolitano suggested holding a town hall at which the whole campus could speak with the committee, but provided no concrete information on the possibility.

“I could imagine a town hall being extremely hard just because we are students and … we are also engaged with classes,” said senior Kunal Kerai, who was on the student panel. “If the committee (was) there, I imagine that they’d want to do it during business hours, when a lot of the students are in class.”

Students within the panel appeared to have the same concerns represented in the earlier student forum and the preliminary results of the ongoing survey, such as the necessity for a chancellor who understands and is committed to equity and inclusion.

“Too long have students faced pressing issues such as sexual assault and harassment, affordable housing … among others,” the information sheet said. “In the recent past, students have brought these issues to the attention of the chancellor and their administration only to be stonewalled. This cannot happen anymore.”

Contact Sakura Cannestra and Anderson Lanham at [email protected].

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