Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY


Open Letter: Presidential search must remain open

Dear Presidential Search Committee,

As you are well aware, Ithaca College is at a critical point in its history. Over the past year, we have seen our community of students, faculty, and staff join together in an attempt to change this campus. We have asked for cultural competency, transparency, servant leadership, shared governance, and most importantly, a greater level of respect across campus. We have asked for a new president of the college. It is frightening that some of these expressed values may be totally disregarded in the designing of the selection process for this next president.

We understand fully the fear of highly qualified candidates dismissing this position on the basis of confidentiality, but even the AAUP have yet to find a statistic or form of evidence that validates this fear. (https://www.aaup.org/sites/default/files/AAUP_Statement_on_Presidential_Searches_0.pdf) The complexity of the college cannot be explained fully without the experiences and input of various constituencies. While we would like to have complete confidence in the search committee, we also recognize that their experiences, thoughts, and concerns alone will not suffice in such a critical selection process. If the search committee values a process that is transparent, engaging, and most importantly, inclusive, we cannot possibly have anything but an open process. We are trying to mend the wounds of our campus community, not forget them.

Creating a search that makes engagement in candidate selection difficult will only hurt this campus that we are trying so hard to rebuild. The first interaction these candidates should have with the campus, regardless of where they come from, should be at the time that finalists are interviewed at Ithaca College. Candidates having no interaction or engagement with the campus (including with students, faculty and staff) will not only reinforce the distrust in administration, set a precedent for the incoming president, and create an environment that is fearful of the unknown, but disallow for the campus interaction that we highly value and crave in our next president. (http://www.ithaca.edu/orgs/sga/docs/value_sessions.pdf)

The input of students, faculty, and staff will be crucial in deciding the next president of Ithaca College and as members of the Student Government Association, we strongly advise that the Presidential Search Committee create an open search for our next president.

Carlie McClinsey, Senate Chair
Marieme Foote, SGA President
Luis Torres, VP of Campus Affair
Dani Weinstein, VP of Communications
Ezeka Allen, VP of Business and Finance
Lucas Veca, Senator at Large
Taulant Gashi, Business School Senator
Jordyn Steinheiser, HSHP Senator
Thomas Horgan, Class of 2019 Senator
Emily Honen, H&S Senator
Charlotte Robertson, Off Campus Senator
Catherine Proulx, Senator at Large
Laura Waxman, Class of 2019 Senator