Student excitement surrounds Warren’s presidential tenure


Kent State president-elect Dr. Beverly Warren waves to fans at the Kent State vs. Ohio University basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Warren’s presidency will become effective in July, replacing outgoing President Lefton.

Jimmy Miller

Roslynn Porch embraced Kent State’s president-elect Beverly Warren after the two discussed what changes the Black United Students president wanted to see on Kent’s campus.

“For a 15 minute conversation, I think I gained a lot from it,” Porch said about meeting Kent State’s 12th president Jan. 9. “Just from the vibe she gives off, she’s more warm and treats us like were students and adults and that our opinions matter. Like we have a purpose on this campus as students and student leaders.”

Students were invited to meet the president-elect Jan. 9 at an informal meet-and-greet in The Nest on the third floor of the Student Center. Their excitement to meet the new president was matched with questions about what changes she would make to Kent State’s presidency.

“I was looking for a president concerned with finding out issues directly from student’s mouth, not just from hear-say. And I feel like she definitely fits that,” said Porch, who discussed student retention with Warren.

Before the meet-and-greet, Warren had only met with the two students on the presidential search committee: Amish Patel, director of Undergraduate Student Government and Michael Allen, chair of Graduate Student Senate.

Patel said although students were not on campus when she was announced, they should look forward to seeing her face on campus in the coming months.

“Students shouldn’t feel slighted with the announcement. It’s just how the cards fell,” Patel said about students’ presence missing on campus during Warren’s announcement. “She’ll be back and forth for the next six months, so it’s not like the process is over by any means.”

Patel said with other universities like The University of Akron and The Ohio State Univeristy conducting presidential searches, timeliness were an issue.

 Allen said Warren will be ready to “hit the ground running.”

“I think Kent has a lot of momentum, ”Allen said. “I don’t think we need a change of course, but what I admire about Dr. Warren…is she is very approachable. She’s not standing in an ivory tower looking down on us.”

While many student leaders did not attend the meet-and-greet due to winter break, they expressed a desire to see changes to the presidency under Warren’s tenure.

“We like to see a president or someone in charge that engages with the students. They have their other fiscal obligations, but at the end of the day, they have to make sure student life is at the forefront of their mind,” Kent Interhall Council President Christine Francisco said.

Francisco said she was excited to see a woman selected as president of the university. This is only the second female president-elect in Kent State history, as Carol Cartwright held the position between 1991 and 2006.

“Personally, as a woman leader, I’m excited to see a woman leader of the university,” Francisco said. “If anything, I’m upset that I’m graduating.”

College Republicans leader Shawn Mercer said Warren will have to not just establish communication with students but also adjust teaching styles to the modern-day student.

“To resonate with the student body, she must update outdated teaching styles with classes that are in tune with our generation’s embrace of technology,” Mercer said.

Mercer added that the president must also watch for wasteful spending while paying for new technologies.

College Democrats President Bryan Staul said the university made a lot of physical changes to campus, but noted Warren will need to improve transparency and openness with the students.

“I don’t think it would be entirely fair to say Lefton was problematic, but changes we were looking for were openness,” Staul said. “We want to be spoken to. That’s why I think everybody’s been so welcoming to our president.”

Warren vowed that student interaction will be priority to her in the coming months as she gets familiar with the Kent State system.

“Student success and student engagement is one of my top priorities at Virginia Commonwealth University, and it will be at Kent State University,” Warren said at the Jan. 9 meet-and-greet. “I want to know more about you, what you love about the university, what you love to see us do better at this institution and what you think will draw quality students here in the future.”

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].