Opinion: Honesty best policy with new president

Elaina Sauber is a senior English major and opinion editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Elaina Sauber

When I began attending Kent State, it was apparent from week one that President Lefton had significant plans over the next few years.  Indeed, he has been responsible for several remarkable improvements to the university and campus, and those improvements seemed to fall hand-in-hand with yearly enrollment increases and the redevelopment project in downtown Kent. There’s no denying Lefton’s various achievements for the university, including the $200 million investment in campus improvements, particularly for the College of Architecture, Environmental Science and Technology.   

However, that’s not to say Lefton did a perfect job in his eight years at Kent State—it seems that many of his financial objectives were met at the expense of students.  Many upperclassmen can probably remember the student protest in 2012, when several students rallied against the new credit-hour fee to be implemented, not to mention the administration’s decision to raise tuition for several consecutive years, despite the university’s new advancements.

The biggest fault in Lefton’s term, however, lies in the lack of transparency between the administration and the student body.  While tuition increased and credit fees were implemented, Lefton continued to earn an annual $100,000 bonus at the end of each academic year, following the highly-secretive evaluation by the Board of Trustees, and, later, by an outside firm.  As more improvements were made to the university, many students became dissatisfied with the increase in fees, and rapport suffered. 

Lefton made vast improvements to the university, and the new president-elect, Beverly Warren, has big shoes to fill.  However, what our campus needs now more than ever is communication between the administration, students and faculty.  To do this, there must be a sense of trust and accountability between all parties.

Running a university like a corporation has worked for the past eight years, but it’s time for a new approach that goes beyond viewing college students as consumers and withholding presidential search information from the public. 

Warren vowed to be “as open as she can be” as the new president, despite the secrecy of the presidential search, and we can only hope she’ll be true to her word.