Four Corners: Chancellor & The Students

Sarah S. Menendez: So, Janet Napolitano has selected the committee to search for the new UCI chancellor and obviously in the past with the selection of the UC President and other UC chancellors, there has always been the issue of not enough student input. It’s important to talk about how we, the students, want the committee to select a Chancellor and what we want them to address.

Ryan Cady: There are a lot of people on this committee, but no one from the Humanities, which is not at all surprising, but is still disturbing.

Tess Andrea: Well, I don’t think it has ever worked this way–an advisory committee to select the next chancellor makes a lot of sense but, I just have always felt that potential chancellors should have to campaign to the student body as to why they should be our next chancellor. It’s our funding, it’s our school, it has everything to do with us.  A lot of people will say that students don’t pay attention, that they aren’t aware of what goes on in the university, they aren’t educated enough to vote on things like this, but if we can vote on the president of the United States, we can vote on the next UCI Chancellor.

Sarah: I mean, everyone makes the argument that we pay taxes and that pays the president and representatives, etc, etc, but it’s the same concept here, we pay tuition, which then pays the chancellor’s salary, yet, we don’t have a say. Without us, they wouldn’t have a job, there would be no school. I remember one time, UCLA students held up a sign to their chancellor that said “You were not elected,” and I think that says so much in so many ways. It’s as simple as “we did not choose you.”

Tess: I would love to see chancellor candidates take time to sit and hold different forums with students to where they could discuss things with students, answer questions, and get feedback. They should have to campaign to us, I as a student want to know about how they would devote their time and their energy.

Sumeet Singh: I look at the process a little differently, because I feel like if we are looking for a qualified candidate, that the candidate should see why he wants to be a UCI chancellor, not the other way around. I think that the search committee is poaching candidates, giving them attractive salary offers, that’s part of the appeal. The students have almost nothing to do with the process because the process is like a business transaction.

Tess: I think this is all a part of the extreme privatization of the university. It really comes top down.

Ryan: I mean, we all said it, “we haven’t been a public university in a long time.”

Sarah: Yeah, I think we can all agree that this university system is privatized at this point. But I think the biggest lesson we can learn from and look at in terms of selecting leadership is the appointment of Janet Napolitano and recent chancellor appointments. The way they have been selected hasn’t been anywhere close to the way it should be, there has been absolutely no student input. But, pragmatically speaking, something that can happen is gathering a group of students, just picking students that are involved at random, picking people like us, org leaders, people in the cross, people that are engaged–it doesn’t have to be just the ASUCI and AGS president. The issue is that students just have to be able to say something.

Tess: I just want to see an attempt to create a dialogue with the student population.

Ryan Cady is a fourth-year English and psychology double major. He can be reached rcady@uci.edu.

Sarah S. Menendez is a third-year political science and literary journalism double major. She can be reached at smenende@uci.edu.

Sumeet Singh is a fourth-year English major. He can be reached at sumees1@uci.edu.

Tess Andrea is a third-year French and literary journalism double major. She can be reached at tandrea@uci.edu.