By Amrutha Sivakumar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 9, 2013
In an effort to increase student influence in the search for the next University president, the University Council brought forward a resolution to establish a separate student committee that would assist the presidential search advisory committee in its work.
More like this
In 2001, when former University President Lee Bollinger announced his resignation, the University's Board of Regents announced the creation of a committee that included two students.
There are no students on the current committee even though Central Student Government President Michael Proppe sent an e-mail to the regents in early June requesting they include student seats in the committee — a desire that was reiterated at the board's meeting in July, when the committee was announced.
Proppe and CSG Vice President Bobby Dishell, president of the University Council, initially sent out a report to CSG Assembly representatives that detailed the creation of a Presidential Search Commission under the executive branch of CSG, but that order was not passed.
Monday night’s resolution brought forth the student committee as an alternative that would extend the push for student input beyond the boundaries of student government.
The University Council resolution says the new student committee would present a recorded report of student input during public forums and continue to provide input throughout the year until the president was selected.
Ten student leaders from student governing bodies and organizations throughout the University will sit on the committee, including those from the Arab Student Association, University of Michigan Hillel, Residence Halls Association, National Panhellenic Council, Rackham Student Government, Dance Marathon, Interfraternity Council, Black Student Union and Graduate Employees’ Organization.
“We tailored (the resolution) to make sure that we can be most effective as a student body,” Dishell said after the meeting. “While student government represents the student voices, it’s also important to really get down to the grassroots parts of these communities and not just take from the top.”
Dishell will sit on the committee and Proppe will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member.
In an interview at the meeting, LSA Student Government President Sagar Lathia said LSA-SG will actively work to culminate input from its school by surveys and other outreach mechanisms.
While he said he believed that the student committee was the “closest we can get” to having students personally sit on the PSAC, Lathia was optimistic about its ability to push its input into the PSAC’s final decisions.
While the regents have yet to publicly announce their final interview or selection process for the presidential candidates put forth by the PSAC, Regent Katherine White (D) assured the student government leaders that their solicited input would be incorporated.
“We have not put anything in stone of how we’re handling this; it’s just about getting as much information as we can,” White said. “We want continued information with the input that you’re going to give us and we don’t want that to end.”
As per the CSG Constitution, the resolution, having been approved by the University Council, will now go through a vote of the larger assembly Tuesday evening during its weekly meeting.
“The fact that we got this committee created not for nothing (shows that) we can get the regents to hear our voices,” Dishell said.