Talk about underrepresentation The Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which will aide the University Board of Regents” search to find outgoing University President Lee C. Bollinger”s successor has the following composition: Seven faculty members, two staff members, two students, two alumni, and one representative from each of the Dearborn and Flint campuses.

What are the regents thinking? Why is it that the one group for which the University exists students is so grossly underrepresented on the advisory committee?

As its name implies, the committee is merely advisory, so having students adequately represented would not involve giving them any type of sweeping powers that might interfere with the search process. Of course, there are legitimate confidentiality concerns, but there is no reason to think that student committee members, properly selected, could not be trusted as much as faculty or staff members.

Even if students were adequately represented on the advisory committee, that wouldn”t be enough. The University has a notorious reputation for being tight-lipped about the progress of the presidential progress the Regents need to be extra careful to involve the entire University community as much as possible in the search process. For example, as the process winds down and it becomes obvious who the top candidates are, the regents should be open about their finalists and host a series of forums where students can ask the candidates questions.

The next University president will be making critical decisions that will effect student life at the University profoundly, it is hardly a radical notion, then, to insist that students have a real voice in his or her selection.

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