Bill presented to unify search process

Oct. 23, 2008

By Kate Williams, Lariat Reporter

A special proposal calling for representation of faculty, staff, students and alumni in the university Presidential Search Committee was unanimously approved by Student Senate at its October 23 meeting.

Student Body President Bryan Fonville, Student Body Internal Vice President Parker Short and Student Body External Vice President Nicole Yeakley drafted the bill as part of a larger effort to unify the campus while regents search for a new president.

Sponsors of the bill included Okalahoma City senior Tommy Takyi-Micah and Garland senior Andy Beall.

Beall said she is concerned about how a new president might affect students.

"I think it that is very important that the student body has a say in who becomes the next president," she said.

Fonville stressed that it is vital students have a role in picking the next president, especially after students were absent from the process of finding an interim president.

"It is our hope that the Regents will recognize the importance of student input and allow students to serve on the Presidential Search Committee," he said.

Selecting a president is an important decision for Baylor's future, and students deserve to be involved, he said.

The bill follows similar proposals set forth by Faculty Senate and the Alumni Association.

While the Alumni Association suggested that the most critical challenge facing the university is uniting the Baylor family, Faculty Senate's bill cited monetary reasons.

Faculty Senate's bill, which was approved Sept. 9, argued that Baylor's capacity to raise necessary funds had been significantly disadvantaged by the temporary leadership and disunity among constituents.

Yeakley confirmed that donations had ceased to a new low in the previous months.

"We have lost a large amount of donation money as a result of disunity in the Baylor family this past year," she said.

Both Faculty Senate and the Alumni Association amicably agreed to find a solution to end the division among constituents in order to garner the support of necessary donors.

While Student Senate's proposal does not cite monetary problems, it does call for unity between the administration, students, faculty, alumni and staff.

Fonville said he hopes the Regents will not only consider student government's resolution, but the similar resolutions passed by the Faculty Senate, Alumni Association, and Staff Council.

He said he also plans to work diligently to address the concerns of students, as Baylor gets closer to selecting a new president.

"Looking at other top-tier universities, we've seen very high levels of student involvement. The University of Pennsylvania had two students on their last presidential search committee ... our hope is that the Baylor search committee will include students as well," he said.

*This article appeared in the October 24 edition of The Baylor Lariat