This editorial originally appeared in the March 24 issue of The Index as part of the Head to Head column, featuring two columnists’ opposing views. To read Jared Roberts’ piece about how the Board of Governors should decide the next University president, be sure to pick up a copy of the paper on newsstands now.
Truman State’s current university president selection process is undemocratic, failing to offer representation for students, faculty and staff. Instead of allowing the Board of Governors to basically have complete power as Jared Roberts advocates in his column in his piece, a direct vote should be taken among all members of the Truman community on a single election day.
There are three groups who make up our community — students, faculty and staff, and the Board of Governors. Each group should have one-third say in the final decision, proportional to how the members of each group votes. For example, if the students’ vote is evenly split between two candidates, then one-sixth of the total vote would go to candidate A and one-sixth would go to candidate B. If there are more than two candidates running, the candidate who r
eceives the highest number of votes should be chosen. Leading up to election day, potential candidates would have to register as candidates, campaign, create a platform and publicly debate their qualifications and ideas so all voters understand what each candidates presidency would entail. Other details of this system will have to be worked out in more detail, but this basic structure ensures the next University president will be accountable to everyone at Truman.
Each group has different interests and duties within our community, which will check and balance each other during the election process. The Board of Governors makes all of the University’s essential decisions, under- stands the intricacies of the budget and will have valuable input into the practical needs a president should address. But because there are fewer than 20 people on the Board, they do not possess enough information about the entire University to make the best decision by themselves. For example, the Board does not really understand how painful a $300 increase in tuition is for students, the importance of gender-neutral housing, or what the effect of giving our professors stagnant wages for a decade has on learning and their livelihood. I am not saying members of the Board are bad people, because I really do think they have the University’s best interest at heart. However, they cannot make a decision as important as selecting the next president by themselves without ignoring someone or some group’s interests. Truman’s faculty and staff run the daily operations of the University and probably have a better understanding of how it functions than the other
Will Chaney is a sophomore economics major from Bridgeton, Mo.