Interviews for university president position underway
January 24, 2019
The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) announced plans to include two student leaders in conversations with the final candidates for Santa Clara’s 29th president.
The announcement comes after months of lobbying from students and faculty for representation on the committee.
The Associated Student Government (ASG) and the Faculty Senate both passed resolutions to include students in the PSC itself.
The Faculty Senate resolution, in part, was prompted by student allegations that two trustees on the committee used sexist and demeaning language in an Oct. 12 outreach meeting with students leaders.
Van Dermyden Maddux Investigations—a law firm hired by the university—was not able to substantiate those allegations, though the report itself will not be released due to university confidentiality policies.
The two student leaders—ASG President Sam Perez and Senate Chair Alex Perlman—were chosen to take part in the interview process due to the “nature of their leadership roles” on campus, according to an email sent to The Santa Clara by co-chairs John M. Sobrato and Paul Gentzkow in January.
“We appreciate the desire of students to have a role in this process, and feel this is another helpful and appropriate way the search can benefit from students’ input without changing the presidential search protocol in place,” the co-chairs said in the email.
The two student leaders, along with the leadership team, deans, center directors and presidents of the staff and faculty senates will be invited to meet with the finalists.
In order to respect the privacy of the candidates, what these meetings entail remains confidential.
“Most (if not all) qualified candidates will not consent to a public interview process for fear of jeopardizing their current positions and relationships,” a Jan. 15 committee email said to the campus community. “Members of the search committee have agreed to confidentiality of the candidates.”
The interview process began Jan. 14, after the final outreach meeting was conducted with a group of student leaders the previous Friday, Jan. 11.
This was the same group of student leaders who were at the inciting Oct. 12 meeting as well as the PSC co-chairs, Margaret Russell (interim associate provost for diversity and inclusion) and Kitty Murphy (associate director of pastoral ministries). The students took the opportunity to provide the committee with input on the outreach questions.
“On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, we are pleased that Friday’s meeting was both cordial and productive,” the co-chairs said in the email to The Santa Clara. “We look forward to continued collaboration with students on matters that are important to our entire community. We are grateful for the interactive dialogue and collaborative approach of all participants, and received very helpful feedback in return.”
The committee anticipates bringing back the finalist(s) for a second set of interviews in early to mid-February, with a final recommendation given to the Board of Trustees by the end of March.
The Board of Trustees will then make the selection decision.
The university has also agreed to revisit its presidential search protocol prior to the end of this academic school year.
Contact Perla Luna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.