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  • Writer's pictureKAIT BEDELL & RAYANA PETRONE

Presidential Search Committee seeks student POV

Prior to President Michael Alexander’s retirement announcement on July 7, a committee was in place to prepare for his potential exit. According to Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee Lori Hindle, a fifteen-person committee now leads the search to fill the role.

Lori Hindle, Lasell University Board of Trustees Vice Chair and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee outside of Stoller, where office hours are held. Photo by Rayana Petrone

Members of the committee were chosen in hopes of representing as many people on campus as possible. “Folks that could bring more than one particular voice, whether they’re also an alum, or a person of color, or some other form of diversity to find people who could bring multiple perspectives was part of it,” said Hindle.

The Board of Trustees also approved the hiring of WittKieffer, an outside firm to work with the committee in finding the university’s next president. According to Hindle, WittKieffer will be “doing a lot of the legwork”, and leading listening sessions where they will collect information brought to them to find candidates.

In addition to listening sessions, Hindle began hosting office hours every Monday in the Stoller Room from 5:00-6:00 p.m. for individuals or small groups to meet with her and voice their opinions and desires in a new president.

Hindle said she is eager to hear from as many people as possible while the committee and WittKieffer work to form the presidential profile. “However that feedback gets to me, it'll all get incorporated into what we consider for the final profile,” Hindle said. “So people want to be heard… especially in the early stages of [the search]. It's super important I think at this point to make sure everyone's voices are being heard.”

Being as open and honest with the community as possible throughout the search process is the committee’s goal, which is why the presidential search update page was created.

Hindle said that her intention is to be as transparent as possible throughout the search process, which is why the committee hosts a monthly communication plan to share information with the public.

Despite Hindle and the committee’s efforts to keep the community informed throughout the presidential search process, there is also information that cannot yet be released to the Lasell community.

In order to ensure the information being publicized is correct and not premature, committee members are directed to reach out to Hindle and Director of Communications Ian Meropol.

In addition to the listening sessions and office hours being held, Hindle also met with the Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss what students are looking for in their future president.

During the meeting, several students including junior Vice President of Student Affairs Gaelle Nelfise said that they think it is important for the next president to be strongly involved in the community.

“I want to emphasize the necessary connection with the student body,” Nelfise said. “Prioritizing a connection to the student body as we move on from isolation and transition back to college without a pandemic. They should help make students feel at ease.”

Students also brought up issues they would like candidates to take interest in including accessibility on campus, diversity and inclusion, and the relationship with the Village, among other issues.

Hindle said she likes hearing what students have to say about the search and encourages people to continue to share their ideas as the process continues.

“I get so energized by conversations about what’s important to people,” Hindle said. “Words like community are heard so often, and it’s so great to see what aligns across campus.”

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