MUSG denied a student voice on presidential search committee

MUSG denied a student voice on presidential search committee

No students will be on the presidential search committee despite lobbying efforts by Marquette Student Government leaders.

“I think symbolically it gives the appearance that the university isn’t listening to students’ input on this,” said Zach Bowman, MUSG executive vice president and junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “While we have our listening session (Wednesday afternoon), I think everyone realizes that the real decision making will happen in that committee.”

MUSG President Sam Schultz, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Bowman began trying to get a student presence on the search committee shortly after the Rev. Scott Pilarz suddenly left his position in September. The pair held meetings with university leadership, including Charles Swoboda, the chairman of the Board of Trustees. Schultz said the board and MUSG disagreed about the “level of experience” students have to choose a president. Schultz and Bowman both still feel student opinion would be highly beneficial to the search committee.

“We think students have the best pulse on campus in terms of what an effective president would look like in terms of how they interact with students,” Schultz said. “Obviously that isn’t the only part of a president’s job, but (we) thought that opinion is worthwhile enough to be part of the search committee.”

Bowman said students would bring a unique perspective to the search committee because they have the most hands-on knowledge of how administration decisions affect the day-to-day lives of those on campus. He also said there is a faculty member on the stalled provost search committee who feels students would provide a necessary perspective to the process. Bowman would not mention the faculty member by name, which he said was at the person’s request.

Even though students will not have a representative on the presidential search committee, they will not necessarily be cut out of the process. Janis Orlowski, a member of the Board of Trustees who was appointed to the search committee after the decision was made not to include a student member, said the Board of Trustees is making an effort to be transparent during the search process. She also said the board considers the input of the students to be “critical.” She could not say, however, whether or not students would play an active role in the search.

“I would tell you that right now, the only thing that we’ve sort of charted out has been Witt/Keiffer coming in, when we’re going to bring this to the Board of Trustees, and I would tell you there’s not been a road map as to any other points after that,” Orlowski said.

MUSG is still lobbying for student representation on the other search committees that are on hold or being planned. Schultz will represent students on the Department of Public Safety Chief search committee. MUSG is also lobbying to have student input on the search committees for the provost and the College of Business Administration dean. Bowman said MUSG is optimistic it will get student representation on future search committees.

“They don’t have to accommodate us in any way, but since being turned down for the presidential search committee we’ve been included on the DPS search committee,” Bowman said. “So there seems to be some sort of balance here of where we’re included and where we’re not.”