Philosophy speaker re-examines justice

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Representatives from the presidential search committee have been engaging with the Union community to develop an understanding of the campus and its priorities for the new president following President Ainlay’s departure. Union’s Board of Trustees is working with Isaacson, Miller, a national academic search firm, to find a suitable candidate. The firm describes itself as “a mission-driven business committed to the recruitment of powerful civic leaders.” Isaacson, Miller has been meeting with students to hear what students want and will expect from the new leader of their school. One such meeting took place in the Reamer Campus Center on Wednesday, September 27. Three representatives were present, including Kathryn S. Barry ’01, Karen McPhedran and Micah Pierce. They detailed the firm’s role in the search process, how they would be aiding the Board of Trustees and how presidential candidates are found through a search of interested figures with past roles of leadership. The discussion with students began with the representatives asking the students for their opinions and what they want to see in the next president. Many students vocalized their concerns about picking a candidate, all addressing the importance of making Union a stronger community. Many highlighted both strengths and shortcomings of Union during the discussion so that Isaacson, Miller can find a president who will best be able to address the issues and be successful at Union. Students began by expressing their admiration of Ainlay and that continuing his legacy must be considered a priority when selecting a new president. Ainlay has made many contributions on campus, from buildings to green initiatives to increasing diversity and inclusion, and students do not want to undo that progress under the new president’s administration. One student stated that, “Ainlay has a presence on campus” where he attends sport games, casually talks to students and promotes a campus of inclusion. Another student described Ainlay’s support of the international community at Union. He expressed that the new president must be willing to continue fostering Union’s positive relationship with international students and committees. Many students also felt the issue of sustainability on campus ought to always be a priority of the College. They argued that the new president must represent the student body by continuing making Union environment-friendly. Students then began to highlight challenges on campus that the new president will face. They discussed Greek Life on campus and how the new president must be sensitive to the situation. The representatives of Isaacson, Miller asked how many students attending the discussion were members of Greek Life and asked the members to raise their hands. A little more than half raised their hands, giving the representatives an understanding of the magnitude of student involvement in Greek Life on campus. One student emphasized that the new president must foster a hospitable relationship with Greek Life because, “Union is the Mother of Fraternities.” Students claimed that members of Greek Life are treated unfairly by the College and that the new president must address this issue. Other students argued that the new president should have the College more intensely confront its history of exclusion and “own up to the culture at Union.” Additionally, they felt Union must continue being a top institution in STEM, especially for women. One student stated that the new president should “do what is right” instead of doing what gets the most Alumni donations. Another concern raised by students was that the new president will need to address Union’s involvment in Schenectady. In a common agreement, the students attending felt the new president ought to be a representative of Union by being a beneficial member of the community who creates positive change. The Concordiensis will continue following the presidential search in the coming months.

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