While students can be thankful to the regents for the addition of a fall break next October, the regents failed students in their selection of the presidential search advisory committee. Only two students were selected to the 15 member committee, Michigan Student Assembly President Matt Nolan and psychology doctoral student Lisa Jackson.
The regents selected the 15 member committee from a pool of 300 nominee-applicants. With 300 possibilities it is doubtful that the regents were only able to pick two qualified students to serve on the advisory committee. It is also unlikely that the president of MSA was the only qualified representative of the undergraduate student body.
Lee Bollinger”s duties as university president officially ended with interim president B. Joseph White”s assumption of those duties yesterday. The need to fill Bollinger”s vacancy has become markedly more pressing with that significant transition. It is unfortunate that the University believes that thirteen percent of the presidential search advisory committee be chosen to represent the approximately 38,000 students who make up between 90 and 95 percent of the University community as a whole.
The University, often through the regents who are its spokespeople, has emphasized on countless occasions the importance that the University places on undergraduate education. More than 20,000 undergraduate students attend the University clearly undergraduates make up a demographic that will be significantly affected by the new president”s decisions. The regents should have recognized this in their selection of the committee and both increased the size of the committee and the percentage of undergraduates serving.
For the University to maintain its proclaimed commitment to the undergraduate education and the undergraduate experience as a whole, it must give undergraduates a larger and louder voice in major University decisions. As for the two students that have been selected, the regents must make sure to make their “advisory” role more than nominal.