Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Indirect clout

Published: October 23, 2009
Section: Editorials

Today, the Student Union President and Representatives to the Board of Trustees will meet with the Chair of the Board of Trustees Malcolm Sherman to discuss the possibility of appointing a student to the Presidential Search Committee, which has yet to be formed.

As of last night, Sherman did not intend to include any students on the actual search committee, and the likelihood of him changing his mind is impossible to gauge.

Certainly, students have a right to be involved in the process of selecting a new president. Already, there is a consulting committee which will be comprised entirely of students.

Given Sherman’s stated reluctance to permit a student on the search committee, perhaps the efforts of the Student Union would be better spent on increasing the clout of the consulting committee.

Having a student on the search committee itself does pose some problems. It is unlikely that the student would have a vote or take an active role in interviewing candidates. Furthermore, the involvement of a single student on the committee could have the unfortunate effect of disempowering the student consulting committee if the Board decides that the ‘voice’ of the student body has already been heard.

Finally, only having one student undermines the purpose of a consulting committee because it eliminates the representation of diversity of viewpoints from the student body.

Truly, The Hoot understands and appreciates Union President Andy Hogan’s ’11 perspective, and we applaud Union efforts to ensure that students are heard in this process.

We believe that community voices are of the utmost importance. But in this instance, advocating for one student representative on the search committee is not the most effective way of ensuring that a multiplicity of student perspectives are honored by the Board of Trustees.