Students express expectations for future Kent State presidential candidates

Sara Macho

Though student attendance was low, the Undergraduate Student Senate and the Presidential Search Committee still managed to gather pertinent information at an open student forum held yesterday in the Kiva.

Alumni, university leaders and various committee members met to discuss major issues and challenges the new president should address.

William Ross, executive director of the USS and member of the committee, served as moderator to direct questions to the committee.

The committee, which is made up of students, professors, members of the Board of Trustees and alumni, gathered responses and will meet again Dec. 7 to discuss qualities and personal aspirations the next president should possess.

Students and alumni at the meeting wanted the same things: open communication between administration and students and an individual who will truly care about students and campus life.

Katie Hale, sophomore political science major and administrative assistant of the USS, said the next president should form a bond with students.

“Many students do not even know who the current president is,” Hale said. “The new president should be very personable with students.”

Hale suggested the new president form relationships with the student body by attending athletic events and mingling in various dining halls.

Student Advancement Sen. Preston Mitchum mentioned how there seems to be a divide between President Carol Cartwright and the student body.

“We need a president who takes the time to listen,” Mitchum said.

He added there would be no need to have so many committees and forums if the president made herself more personable and knew the issues students are concerned about.

Student senators addressed the retention rate, tuition costs and effective communication among administration and potential students.

Mitchum said many of his friends left the university because they did not feel welcome. He also added that minority students, who make up 10 percent of the university population, feel they are not strongly represented.

“I’ve talked with students from organizations who feel their opinion doesn’t matter,” Mitchum said.

He said enrollment rates would be up if tuition costs were not continually raised. Students often do not understand why their tuition was raised, Mitchum said, and the new president should keep students informed about any raised tuition costs.

Community Affairs Sen. Ross Miltner brought up the issue of effective communication.

“If you put yourself in the mindset of a 17- or 18-year-old high school student, what would make them want to come to Kent State?” Miltner said.

He said the new president needs to address the many strengths the university has, such as academic programs and campus atmosphere.

“Kent has such a unique feel to it,” Miltner said. “The university offers so many things to its students. In the course of four years, it’s impossible to do everything that’s out there.”

Miltner also said he believes that with a new president, the university has the potential to move in a fresh direction.

“The university will shift in the next decade, and it’s up to the next president to decide what direction the university will go in,” he said.

Contact student politics reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].