Pseudo student representation

Presidential search committee lacks adequate student input

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Pseudo student representation

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The College of Dupage is just that: a college. It exists, at its bare minimum, as a place for students. As simple as this concept is, it seems as if the administration is losing touch with the fact that COD is not just a stomping ground for them to rule, and with the search for a new school president on its way, this misconception could become a major issue.

On the surface, COD appears to have student representation under its belt, with the many students who work on campus and the over 60 clubs and organizations available to join. In addition, COD is also home to the Student Leadership Council, or SLC, with elected student-held positions such as student body president, vice president, and student trustee. The goal of the SLC is to facilitate leadership opportunities for students and, in doing so, improve the COD community. Our current student trustee, Gloria Roark, holds a coveted position as a member of the board of trustees. In theory, Roark gets a vote in every board decision. However, in practice, none of her votes are actually counted in the final ballot. If it seems a bit redundant to have her share her vote if it isn’t considered, that’s because it is.

It is this exact problem that came to the forefront of our minds when the administration announced the members of the presidential search committee. These are the people chosen to work together in deciding who should be the next head of our school. It’s a big deal, which is why it was so disappointing that only one student was selected to be on the committee, and that one student’s vote, much like Roark’s vote on the board, doesn’t actually count.

Roark herself was the first choice to be the student representative on the committee, but had to decline due to time issues. Instead, student body vice president Miguel Hernandez will take on the responsibility, or lack thereof. The fact of the matter is that there is no real responsibility if the decision he makes means nothing. While the administration is doing a great job at putting on the appearance of significant student input, the truth is that student opinions are grossly underrepresented. Hernandez has no real say in whom our next president will be, much like how Roark’s votes are not counted in board decisions. It’s all an act, and in reality, the board and the presidential search committee make decisions for the students without ever properly hearing the students’ ideas first.

While Hernandez will get the chance to give his opinion in the decision for our next president, he is after all, only one student out of nearly 30,000. Members of the search committee must focus on not only the needs of themselves and the board, but also the needs of the students. This isn’t easy to do when only one student gets the chance to speak on behalf of all. Even if they are acting with the students’ best interest in mind, they will never know for sure how students feel if they do not communicate with them. There is a clear disconnect between the people in charge of the school and the people attending it, and now more than ever that disconnect must be addressed.

The decision to have a single student representative in the 16-member committee is disappointing, and the decision to make his vote irrelevant is even worse. COD is an institution for students, but when it comes to their opinions, it is clear they are not important to those in charge. At the very least, when it comes time for Hernandez to state his opinions concerning our next president, we can only hope the committee members take his suggestions seriously. As of right now, it is far too easy for his vote to go unnoticed, much like the ideas of the rest of the student body.

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