Search must include more student input

For the third time in three years, The University of Alabama is seeking a new president. Judy Bonner became the first female president of the University on Nov. 1, 2012, one day after Guy Bailey resigned from the post after two months. Bonner’s own resignation from the presidency leaves the University and the Board of Trustees in a familiar state.

This selection process, though, should be different. It should be better. The selection of Ann Die Hasselmo, who was a consultant in the selection of Robert Witt in 2003, suggests a desire for a new president who will continue the rapid growth that began under Witt. The expansion that has been maintained for the past 12 years cannot continue. The growth in enrollment will slow in coming years and this particular chapter of the University’s history will slowly come to a close. Whoever becomes the next president will have to face this challenge, but they will also have a chance to define the University’s identity for the 
foreseeable future.

The students, faculty and staff of the University have the biggest stake in this decision and therefore deserve a bigger seat at the table.

With that in mind, we believe the search committee that will be convened in February should include more student representation than just SGA President Hamilton Bloom. The multitude of diverse views represented across campus deserve more than just one student representative. The careful creation of a selection committee that encompasses a representational cross section of the UA community will be the only way to select the right candidate. The search committee must therefore include more student and faculty representation.

The search committee must also release consistent and informative updates about the selection process. Dialogue between the search committee and the larger UA community would create transparency, more productive discussion of University needs and ultimately yield the best candidate possible. The candidates’ privacy and legal rights must always be respected, but the right of the UA community to know what is being done in their name must also be recognized and honored.

The Crimson White hopes for a more transparent process with consistent updates for all stakeholders in the UA community. Whoever is selected in the end for the position must be ready to transform the University by looking to the future, not the past.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board.

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