Student gov’t leaders respond to pres. finalist

Shared governance is the primary concern for student leaders.

Cali Owings

Student government at the University of Minnesota wants to ensure the presidential transition does not set back their plans for shared governance.

The Board of Regents named Stony Brook University Provost Eric Kaler as the sole finalist Friday in the five-month search to find a replacement for President Bob Bruininks.

Ryan Kennedy, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly president and only student to sit on the presidential search committee, said he thought Kaler was a great candidate who would be receptive to student concerns.

The concern at the moment is, of course, shared governance, an agreement between the University and the student governments to allow more student influence over administrative decisions.

The Minnesota Student Association recently passed two resolutions on the issue. MSA President Sarah Shook and Kennedy have been working on an agreement between students and the administration regarding shared governance, which Bruininks said he could see achieved before he leaves office in June.

Kennedy said he would like Kaler to commit to “hearing student opinions on all issues relating to University matters and recognizing that students have more than an isolated role on campus.”

Aaron Carlson, chairman of the Student Senate, said he, Kennedy and Shook would be “adamant” about pursuing shared governance with Kaler.

Both Carlson and Kennedy did not say they were concerned about having only one candidate.

“I have confidence that the Board of Regents is doing a good job,” Carlson said, adding that he was glad to have a student voice on the search committee.

In an e-mail statement, Shook said she was excited to meet with Kaler to make sure he is committed to “keeping tuition affordable, maintaining high academic standards and ensuring students are an integral part of the decision-making process at the University.”

On Thursday, student government will have the opportunity to meet with Kaler and ask questions during his visit to campus.