Current Humboldt State President Lisa Rossbacher answering questions during a press conference in Corbett conference room on HSU campus Oct. 9. | Photo by Alex Gonzalez

Candidate committee conundrum

Associated Students has little confidence in HSU's presidential search process.

Confidential hiring process raises concerns

As Humboldt State University’s president seat becomes vacant, a confidential selection process, along with a limited advisory committee, raises concerns about students’ input in deciding a new president.

“I understand the need to be confidential,” Associated Students Board Coordinator Casey Park said. “But I don’t see how you can fit 7,500 student voices into one student rep.”

Park is one of the many Associated Students members who attended a meeting with CSU Chancellor Timothy White and Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard about a presidential candidate search process on Oct. 8 in the AS banquet hall.

HSU’s current president, Lisa Rossbacher, announced her retirement next summer in a campus-wide letter on Oct. 1. The letter states that the search process for a new president will begin this winter.

The CSU Board of Trustees’ policy for the selection of presidents explains that a committee of CSU Trustees, along with the advice and consultation of an advisory committee, will decide in confidentiality who HSU’s next president will be.

CSU Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Loren Blanchard and Chancellor Timothy White in the UC banquet hall on Oct. 8 at HSU. Blanchard is responding to one of the AS member’s questions. | Photo by Michael Weber

Of more than 20 representatives in the advisory committee, only one will be a student. Because the process is confidential, that student will be the only student who can directly affect recommendations for the new president.

While the AS gets to choose HSU’s student representative, Park is worried that the voice of all HSU students won’t be sufficiently represented by one person.

The only opportunity for those not in the advisory committee to have a say in the search process will be during an open forum in the first week of Feb. in 2019.

White says the forum will be video taped so that candidates will be able to see and hear what the community wants. After the forum, White said, they will create a ten page public document of search criteria and will invite candidates to apply.

During Monday’s meeting, White emphasized confidentiality in the search process and that candidates will be interviewed at an airport — the same as Rossbacher.

White’s argument for confidentiality is that external candidates (not working at HSU) may lose their job if they were seen applying to HSU. Without confidentiality, the committees may not be able to form a strong group of candidates.

“It’s not secret,” White said, “It’s confidential.”

Confidentiality in the search process hasn’t always been the case for CSUs, according to John Meyer, chair of the political science department.

Meyer said that in 2002, the year Rollin Richmond became HSU president, candidates delivered a speech to an open forum. People were able to meet candidates before they were selected and were able to get a feel of who they were by asking questions and giving comments.

This conversation between candidates and community was nonexistent during president Rossbacher’s selection. White said that it won’t happen again for the new candidates.

The confidentiality gives AS Executive Director Janessa Lund little confidence in HSU’s future leadership.

“With all the turnover [in HSU], we need a solid base,” Lund said. “[We have] a lack of consistency on campus leadership, which leads to uncertainty and insecurity.”

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on reddit

More Stories

Photo by Abraham Navarro | Cowboy Daddy's Drummer and Keyboard player Conner West, 25, and guitarist Skye Freitas, 24, jam out at the Gutswurrak Student Activity Center on April 28.

Local bands rock the Gutswurrak

by Ione Dellos Band members wait in front of the bathrooms, eyes anxiously fluttering from the stage to the growing audience in the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center. After the deepest sigh one could possibly take, they make their way to

Travis Allen pole vaults at the Green and Gold Track Event on Feb. 12 Photo by Morgan Hancock.

Athlete’s outperform at decathlon

by Carlos Pedraza The Cal Poly Humboldt Track and Field team participated in the Stanislaus State Multi-Event from Thursday April 7 to Saturday April 9. The team participated in over 10 different events, all of which were multi-day involving different

Photo by Morgan Hancock | Izzy Star hits a home run in final softball game of the season at the Bear River Recreation Center in Loleta, California on Saturday, April 30.

Cal Poly Humboldt plays its last softball game of the series

by Eddie Carpenter On April 30, Cal Poly Humboldt Softball played the last two games of their series against Cal State San Marcos. Due to weather conditions, the softball games had to be relocated to the Bear River Recreation Center

One Comment

  1. Shirley B. Wildered Shirley B. Wildered Wednesday, October 17, 2018

    What is the rational basis for believing students or faculty should select the next HSU president? How would that concept translate into your work as journalists? Would readers of The Lumberjack get to vote on all stories the editors were considering?

    The faculty took a vote of no confidence on Rollin Richmond a few years after that “more open” process in 2002. He stayed another seven years after the vote.

Leave a Reply to Shirley B. Wildered Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: