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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Students will help to find new school president

While many students may just be starting their time here at Western, President Bruce Shepard’s journey is coming to an end. Shepard will be retiring at the end of this academic year after eight years of service to the Western community and school.

The search for the 14th president of Western has now started. At The Associated Students Board of Directors meeting last Wednesday, Sept. 30, the board spoke about the importance of student involvement in this search, and just how students can and should get engaged.

One such way is to apply for the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. Eight to ten students will be nominated, and of those, three will be selected to serve on the committee along with faculty and members of the Board of Trustees.

The committee will be responsible for screening applicants, sitting in on interviews and making their voices heard by giving recommendations on candidates.

AS President Belina Seare sits on the AS Board of Directors overseeing the new Presidential Search Advisory Committee // Photo Courtesy of Trevor Grimm
AS President Belina Seare sits on the AS Board of Directors overseeing the new Presidential Search Advisory Committee // Photo Courtesy of Trevor Grimm

Western junior Nora Selander stressed the importance of student representation on the committee. Selander is the president of Western Votes, a student-led organization that educates Western students about the importance of voting and participation in the political world.

“Student representation is really close to my heart,” Selander said. “I believe students should have their voices heard on issues important to them because this is a great time in our lives to figure out how to speak up for ourselves.”

The challenge is to not only find a qualified candidate, but also one that fits the needs of the Western community.

Western Votes Vice President, Haley Newhouse, voiced what she believes are necessary qualities in a new president.

“I think a new president should realize what we need as a school but also what we do well as a school,” Newhouse said.

The new president should represent the whole student body “fairly and equally,” Newhouse said.

As a committee member, one would be able to voice their opinions on what the job description would entail and the qualities that the president should possess.

“Most importantly, you must have the confidence to speak up in such a setting where you are surrounded by faculty,” said Patrick Eckroth, AS Vice President for Governmental Affairs.

Eckroth also said it is important to be consistently involved. (Patrick Eckroth 1:27) Therefore, anyone looking to join the committee must have the adequate time to participate. The AS Board of Directors also mentioned that they are looking for students who are good listeners and trusted by their peers.

There are also many ways for students to engage outside of the committee. Students can stay involved through surveys, public forums and by attending board meetings.

Applications for the Presidential Search Advisory Committee are due on Oct. 12. The AS Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees hope that the committee will be put together by the third week of October.

If students are interested in applying to be a part of this transition, they can apply online or visit the Board of Directors office on the fifth floor of the Viking Union for questions.

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