Allan Hancock College student leaders felt so strongly about having a say in the search for a new college president that they requested another voice be added to the committee in charge of recruiting for the post.
The college trustees discussed the change during a meeting Tuesday night, and while the board ultimately decided to take no action on that item, it did grant the current student representative more input in the process.
The Associated Student Body Government originally requested that a second student be appointed to the presidential search committee that has been working since December to fill the vacancy created when Jose Ortiz left last June.
Betty Miller, former vice president and director of administrative services, has been serving as interim president until trustees can find a replacement to take over no later than July 1.
Student trustee Steven Auclair told Noozhawk this week that he requested the change after the ASBG passed a resolution that cited a lack of student input in the process — specifically, he said, because the student representative on the committee was not allowed to participate during the presidential candidate finalist forum, recommend questions or be involved in the meet-and-greet and campus tours with the finalists.
Trustees granted the ASBG student representative, Beatriz Maldonado, those privileges on Tuesday.
“There was a lack of student participation in this selection,” Auclair said. “For a long time, we’ve been so focused on external advocacy. Now we’re kind of starting to look back into internal advocacy.”
Trustees approved the initial screening and interview search panel makeup in November, which included four administrators, two members of the Faculty Academic Senate, one member of the Faculty Association, one member of the Part-time Faculty Association, two members of the California School Employees Association, one member of the management group, one member of the supervisory/confidential group, one student from ASBG and one community member recommended by the college Foundation Executive Committee.
That composition was the same one used in 2004, when a paid search consultant formed the committee that found Ortiz. The trustees last year decided to save thousands of dollars by not hiring an outside search firm.
Auclair said students intended to have two representatives all along, but trustees did not approve that idea in November.
Students need more say, he said, considering that one young voice is meant to speak for 11,000 others.
“No one else on that committee represents that many people or that diverse of a population,” he said, “or faces the challenges that students do trying to make the meetings.”
Auclair said Wednesday that students are happy with the change, even if it means they have just one voice.
“ASBG is very happy about it because we got basically what we really wanted, which is more student representation,” he said. “We didn’t feel the discussion of student representation had taken place.”