By Rachel Premack, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 16, 2013
After demand for official student input in the search for the next University president, a student committee recognized by the University's Board of Regents met yesterday for the first time.
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The committee was instituted to add a student voice to the next president with the presidential search that is lead by the presidential-search advisory committee, according to Engineering graduate student Michael Hand, a Rackham Student Government representative and committee member. It is comprised of 12 student leaders from a variety of campus organizations.
Campus leaders have previously called for student representation on the 16-person advisory committee that gathered to selected UMPSC's successor. In 2002, the 16-member committee that hired Coleman included two students: Matt Nolan, the student government president, and Lisa Jackson, a then-doctoral student.
Though the committee will gather student input, the students are not directly involved in the search.
The new student committee will garner student opinions on desired qualities of the new president via a five-question survey e-mailed to the entire student body and through discussion with individual student groups, according to LSA senior Tyrell Collier, speaker of the Black Student Union and a committee member. A social media campaign will solicit additional student input.
Business senior Dalia Adler, Hillel chair and committee member, said the varying economic, religious, ethnic and intellectual backgrounds will diversify student feedback. She added that as many student organizations as possible will be contacted.
Collier said the committee will compile student feedback into a report, which will be presented on Sept. 26 during the advisory committee’s public forum. Student speakers will also present at the forum and the committee is still seeking volunteers to speak.
“It’s not up to us what we present,” Collier said. He emphasized that the committee of student leaders exists to receive and organize student ideas, not as a platform for the leaders’ own agendas.
Kinesiology senior Jared Hunter, National Panhellenic Council president and committee member, wrote in an e-mail interview that students have listed increased transparency and accessibility to students as a desirable quality for the new president to have.
“It seems as though I have continuously heard thus far that students would like the president to be more involved and seen in student life and be a part of the university in that aspect,” Hunter wrote.
The committee members expressed their confidence that the regents will value their input.
“From my experience, one of the great things about Michigan is the general focus on, and appreciation for, the student experience,” Hand said.
At a University Council meeting last week, Regent Katherine White (D) encouraged student input as she and her colleagues reviewed candidates.
“We want continued information with the input that you’re going to give us, and we don’t want that to end,” White said.