Finalist candidates for CSUN’s next president will not engage in campus visits or public hearings with students or faculty, according to an online notice posted by the Advisory Committee on Feb. 24.
CSU Spokeswoman Stephanie Thara said the trustees committee to select the next president have decided to keep the identities of finalists private.
Thara said this decision was made to respect the professional needs of finalists.
“Some candidates may perhaps not want their current employers to know that they are looking for a new job,” Thara said.
Cathie Pacheco, CSUN gender studies major who helped organize the March 1 Day of Action rally on campus, said the professional integrity explanation given by the committee is a cop-out.
“What about respecting the needs of students?” Pacheco said. “A new president will greatly affect our campus and students should be given the opportunity to meet these candidates and become more involved with the process.”
Amanda Flavin, A.S. president, is the only CSUN student granted access to the closed hearings that determine the campus’ future president.
Flavin is one of 10 CSUN representatives that make up the Advisory Committee, which provides counsel and presidential recommendations to the selection committee.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me,” Pacheco said. “How can one student reflect all of CSUN? I don’t think one student up against a committee of trustee members will make much of a difference.”
Political science major and Students for Quality Education member, Grace Castaneda, said she does not have complete faith in A.S. representing the student body throughout the presidential hearings.
“What does the A.S. president even do?” Castaneda said. “I haven’t heard from her. I don’t see her at rallies or marches. I think it’s just a title and I’m not sure her input will represent us all.”
Flavin said A.S. does its best to meet the demands of students and lobby for change.
“I was just in Washington lobbying congressmen so Northridge students can continue to take out student loans,” Flavin said. “Students say A.S. isn’t doing anything, but we’re out there every day making calls, going to meetings and doing all we can to represent the students who elected us.”
Flavin said A.S. held an open meeting in November 2011 in which students were given the opportunity to voice their recommendations or criteria for the next CSUN president.
“These students wave megaphones and say they’re not getting heard, but I didn’t see them at the meeting,” Flavin said. “I think they’re ignorant to the process and don’t understand that myself and the board of trustees are not evil people trying to disrupt the CSU system.”
Flavin also said candidate visits at other campuses in past have not been very effective.
“From what I understand, these visits were essentially campus tours,” Flavin said. “They had little interaction to begin with, so we’re not missing out on much.”
Final presidential recruitment, selection and appointment is ultimately the responsibility of the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President. This committee is made up of four CSU board of trustees members, including its chair and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
The Board of Trustees is scheduled to conduct interviews with finalists on March 19. Reed is expected to announce CSUN’s next president shortly after.
Following the selection, former provost, Harry Hellenbrand, will conclude his responsibilities as interim president. The new president will succeed Jolene Koester, who retired in Dec. 2011 after serving as university president since 2000.
“It is our sincere hope that together we have chosen finalists from which the Board of Trustees can select a truly exceptional president who will become a leader in our outstanding campus culture,” read the online notice.