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Administration should be more transparent in presidential search

On Aug. 20, Chair of the Brandeis Presidential Search Committee Larry Kanarek sent an email to the Brandeis community with an update on the committee’s progress. However, the update was more self-congratulatory than informational. According to Kanarek, the committee was “moving ahead on the timetable [they] set for [them]selves” and getting along with each other. The only update to do with the search was that they had started searching through “a large number of candidates.”

Over a month later, there have been no further updates from the Search Committee. This lack of information is frustrating and unfair to the Brandeis student body, and an easily fixable act on the part of the committee. Time and time again, Brandeis students have asked the administration to build a foundation of trust and transparency, and the administration has sometimes responded, but more often has not.

The presidential search is an important issue for the student body. As many criticisms circulated last year about former President Frederick M. Lawrence, it should be clear to administrators that students actually care about who will follow Interim President Lisa M. Lynch. The Brandeis Hoot believes that the Search Committee should be more open about the process and communicate more with the student body on the progression of the process.

The Search Committee does include a student representative: Sneha Walia ’15. Walia was president of the Student Union last year and is currently a candidate for the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. However, not including any undergraduates in the presidential search only contributes to the lack of transparency and trust. As students who care about Brandeis and have a stake in its future, it is unfair to ask us to be complacent in our complete ignorance of the process.

At a town hall several weeks ago, Interim President Lynch stated multiple times she would not be considered for the position of president, assuring the audience that someone suitable would be chosen eventually. Again, this props up the idea that the student body does not need to be a part of the process. Even if that were completely true, to leave students in the complete dark only serves to reinforce ideas that the administration does not care about student voices. This belief has been vindicated in the past by obstructions to student sexual assault activism and the hiding of the university’s deferred compensation of former President Jehuda Reinharz. In countless editorials, The Hoot has called on the administration to meet students halfway on the issue of transparency. Once again, our arms are outstretched and await a friendly hand. Hopefully, the hand will come soon.

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