Show us the answers, Mr. President

In the opinion of the Board of Trustees, President Lester Lefton is doing his job.

The opinion of students? We don’t really know.

This past week, Lefton met with the University Staff Advisory Council. He said Kent State needs to create a “helping environment ” to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Another “big-picture ” goal from Lefton – How to actually accomplish this type of goal remains to be seen.

The “big-picture” goals that our university is so keen on discussing are all wonderful ideas for a university to strive for. Enhanced fundraising, becoming a magnet for excellent students, intelligent academic investment, creating a culture of excellence, and ensuring Board-determined goals are achieved.

The goals are quite agreeable. The execution has not been.

As tuition-paying students, we have a reasonable right to know what our university president is doing on a daily basis. Is he conducting confidential meetings with top school officials around the country? We’re not sure. Is he schmoozing with students in the Student Center? Maybe, but we haven’t heard about it. Is he sleeping in his office? Possibly – the University Library is quiet and can be warm and cozy, especially in the winter months.

The issue is transparency. We would love to know what President Lefton’s illustrious position is responsible for on a daily basis. If not that, how about weekly? Monthly, even?

We’re not necessarily saying that Lefton isn’t doing his job. We’re saying that we’d like to know what he actually does.

The expectedly busy life of the president of a university is surely daunting. How could he possibly convey to the students how much time he has invested in making our learning experience more valuable? How about more than one interview per year for student media? Perhaps it is news to our still somewhat-new university president, but the same School of Journalism and Mass Communication that Lefton champions to prospective students and faculty produces the student media.

Without student media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication would only be a shell of what we see today. This is not a knock on the school, but an observation based on reality. We are blessed to have several student media units that are more than capable of delivering Lefton’s message to the student body. If he were to make himself more readily available to student media, within reason, he would be much more successful in his effort to reach current students. Why not utilize lines of communication that are already present?

The chair of the Board of Trustees was recently quoted as saying: “What really is going to make Kent State successful is everyone lining up behind the president … it’s going to take a village.”

If the president needs a village to line up behind him for Kent State to make the strides that it is capable of making, he needs to actually show the villagers what he’s up to more frequently. Perhaps we’re simply a skeptical generation, but when our money is paying your salary, it is not surprising that we have a few questions.

The questions have been asked. Let’s just hope that the president can show us the answers.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.