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Staff Editorial:

Transparency will be vital in presidential selection Talk of President Cornwell’s impending departure has been buzzing across campus since we all received his unexpected email announcement on Thursday, Feb. 19. The campus has been stirring with speculation regarding what will come next for the College. Already, students are forming opinions about their hopes and expectations for the next president, from requests for a president who is not a white male to appeals for a president who is committed to sustainability.

For this reason, transparency and student involvement in the selection of our new president will be of the utmost importance. As the student newspaper, we would like to make an early call for openness in this process — communication between the Voice and the search committee will be essential to ensuring that students are kept informed.

This week, members of the Board of Trustees showed unwillingness to communicate with the Voice for our cover story on President Cornwell’s departure by failing to respond to our requests for comment as of press time. We hope that this trend will not continue and urge the Board to make transparency a hallmark of this search process.

The search committee should also make an earnest effort to communicate with students, staff and faculty and to incorporate their ideas and recommendations. This is an opportunity for the College to facilitate and encourage student participation at the administrative level. Students are attuned to and interested in what will come from the formative months ahead, and there must be opportunities for them to contribute.

A transparent process that includes student voices while promoting discussion, sharing concerns, and seeking out thoughts from the wider student population must be a high priority.

We expect the Board of Trustees to be open in its selection of members of the search committee, especially in explaining how and why all members are chosen. There should be an opportunity for students to choose their own representative(s) on the search committee.

Furthermore, there should be a sincere effort to reach out to students and allow them to participate in certain aspects of the hiring process. Although students are regularly invited to participate and represent the student body, those invited to engage in such events are frequently the same handful of students. Any students who have the time and interest to attend an interview should be able to come and ask their potential college president a question or two.

Advertising for such events should be substantial. A single poster in Lowry or an email to a select group of students will not do. The Board of Trustees and the search committee must find ways to reach out to all students to ensure the inclusion of all voices in this critical process. Hopefully students from all backgrounds and class years will come forward to voice what they want to see in their future college president.

To conclude, we as a staff would like to wish President Cornwell a fond farewell, and we hope that his time at Rollins College is happy and successful. We look forward to producing one final copy of the Vice, his favorite annual issue, before his departure.

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