Students show little interest in outcome of ongoing presidential search

Students at SUNY Buffalo State gave their opinions on the search for the ninth college president and offered ideas on ways to keep students informed as the Presidential Search Committee narrows down the candidates.

The pursuit for the ninth president started back in December, when the search committee was formed. They’ve narrowed the search down to five final candidates, including Susan D. Phillips, Gary L. Miller, Howard Cohen and two others that will be disclosed the day before they arrive in order to keep confidentiality.

Fifteen students were asked if they’re aware that the college is looking for its ninth president and almost half either didn’t know, or knew very little about it.

Sarah Calvaneso, a senior at Buffalo State majoring in English education, said that she hasn’t been paying much attention to the search committee’s progress.

“This is my last semester here, and in a couple weeks I’ll be done,” Calvaneso said. “I know that anything going on won’t affect me.”

Another student had a similar opinion on why the election won’t directly impact him.

Michael Holland, a junior majoring in history, said, “I haven’t looked over the candidates and I don’t live on campus, so it doesn’t really matter to me.”

The students that were aware of the candidates and the selection process said that it’s because of all the emails they’ve been receiving from the college.

Every week the college has been updating students, via email, on the search committee’s progress, the candidates and the days they will be on campus. The emails also let students know the time and location of open forums held on campus. The forums allow students to get a sense of why each candidate is running and what they hope to accomplish if chosen.

Emily Frack, a junior with a dual major in dietetics and arts and letters said the email alerts were the main reason she knew about the candidates.

“I don’t have a favorite but I prefer a candidate who knows the students the best and will offer the most change to the campus,” Frack said.

Several students offered ideas on how the college can get their attention.

Rafael Mencia, a freshman at Buffalo State majoring in media production, said that even though he’s received emails, he felt the college could do more to engage students.

“I think by having someone around the union to be more involved would help,” Mencia said. “Something to make it more easier for students to understand.”

Nine of the 15 students said that flyers and posters could help further engage others on campus to pay attention.

Although this isn’t an election that students will be able to cast a vote for, students are welcomed to attend the open forums and ask the candidates questions as well as give the search committee their opinion by filling out online surveys.

The next candidate, whose name will be announced May 11, will be on campus May 12 and 13.


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