New president needs confidence, faith and a drink

T By Martin Andrade

the next University president needs to drink. I don’t mean in the alcoholic sense, nor in a goofy, drunken sense. If the next University president is to be successful, he or she needs to drink. As someone who has served on the Student Services Fees Committee, I know what it’s like working with and in the University administration. The long hours, frustrating meetings and seemingly endless number of things that go wrong are tough to face, especially when time with the family becomes scarce. This is where being able to sit back, relax and drink an ice-cold beer while looking out the window becomes a necessity. It may only be three minutes of relaxation, but it makes a huge impact on one’s sanity.

I’d also like to see a quality of confidence in the next University president. He or she cannot sit and think about something for too long. Over-thinking creates doubt, doubt leads to a lack of confidence and leadership requires confidence. When the next University president walks into a meeting, it must be clear that business is going to get done. A bad plan executed well always beats a great plan executed poorly. The president needs to make a decision and stick to it.

The next president is also going to get a lot of advice on how things should be done from newspaper columnists. He or she needs to ignore them. Columnists aren’t paid to run businesses or universities, but they are always quick to offer advice. Don’t take it. Columnists are at the paper to entertain and attract readers to a paper. In a way, columnists are like the circus: people go to be entertained, but people don’t bring the trained monkeys home with them. Again, the president should be confident and get things done without worrying that some writer is disappointed in how the work is being done.

The next president must open Coffman Union. We have all been told that the union will open up in time for next semester. Many students are cynical about this. Some of us are certain problems will arise, like a mold or crazy monkeys or the West Nile virus, which will delay the Coffman Union project again. This cannot happen. Even if the president has to go to the site and help lay bricks, it must open. Coffman Union has been kept from us by bureaucratic blunder long enough, that some people are even claiming that the University is in violation of a federal rule that land grant institutions must have a union. Students want Coffman Union, and I want a president who can deliver.

The new president must have faith. The next president needs to practice regularly a religion that provides him or her with both strength and perspective. It doesn’t matter which faith the next president practices, as long as it provides solace. The standard journey traveled by University students involves knowing or meeting an atheist. Atheists can be angry, arrogant or frustrated, but most of all, atheists lack the qualities necessary in any good leader.

The next president cannot fear any Minnesota governor, nor anyone in the Legislature. He or she must be able to walk into any office in St. Paul and be able to tell the Legislature what the University needs. Conversely, the president must also be able to accept the Legislature’s budget when it’s decided without being whiny. The next president must be able to do what he can with what he’s got. Additionally, the president must not be afraid to suggest that parts of the budget need to be cut to make this a better university.

Mostly, the next president needs to be able to laugh. We are all human, prone to folly and embarrassment. There will be many times when a political cartoon or “Networkism” will poke fun – sometimes even maliciously – at the administration, but the next president needs to laugh, get back to work and maybe take a sip of whiskey before crunching the numbers.

Martin Andrade is a junior majoring in psychology. He welcomes comments at [email protected]. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]