Students often don’t take advantage of what’s right in front of them. There are currently three candidates being evaluated to determine who can best serve the SUNY New Paltz community and become the college’s next president. We as students need to start caring about them.
On Thursday, Feb. 10, John Schreiber, one of our three potential presidents, visited campus to speak and answer questions to anyone who wanted to listen. But the student turnout was devastatingly low and approximately 20 people showed up to learn about a person who could greatly affect how our campus is run for what could be a decade or two.
Attendance was higher when Joe Gow came to present. We commend the students in the Black Studies and biology departments for expressing concern about their academic futures to the presidential candidates. This is the kind of pro-active voice that we would like to see out of students of different disciplines and across all schools at SUNY New Paltz.
We would also like to commend the Student Association representatives. The executive board and senators thankfully attended and spoke about issues they felt students were concerned about, including gender-neutral bathrooms and the campus drug policy. But we would like campus issues to be a concern of others who may not be in a leadership position. Yes, it is the duty of these elected student officials to represent us, but we cannot leave the responsibility solely to them. We need to be vocal about what we are concerned about when it comes to the future of the school. With the current budgetary shortfall and the possibility of future cuts, our school could be heading into a time of major transition. More than a small group of students should be taking interest in it.
Even though we do not actually get to vote and the president is chosen by the SUNY Board of Trustees, we should still take into consideration what they have to say. It’s necessary for each candidate to see what we care about and think is important. So far, all we’ve told these candidates through our absence is that we don’t care. But we at The New Paltz Oracle don’t think that’s true. We think that students on this campus do care and it’s time we show administrators.
We can learn from students like Brenna Fearey and Jennifer Sanchez, who are on the Presidential Search Committee, that the voices of students serve an important function. This committee will meet with the College Council to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and will ultimately affect the final decision made by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
The final candidate, Mary Papazian, will be visiting SUNY New Paltz and speaking with the campus community on Thursday, Feb. 17 in the Student Union at 8 p.m. It would be wise to attend this meeting and voice your concerns, opinions and hopes for the future of our university.
If you’re interested in finding out more about each candidate, you can visit www.newpaltz.edu/president/search/candidates.html to see their resumes and cover letters. Learn who these individuals are. Your future may depend on it.