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DePaul staff voice concerns, suggestions to staff vetting committee

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With just months before the March deadline to find a replacement for DePaul President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., the staff vetting committee met with fellow DePaul staffers to hear what qualities they desire in Holtschneider’s replacement.

About 20 members of the DePaul staff met in McGowan South on the morning of Dec. 7 as part of one of the staff vetting committee’s two listening sessions. The committee held a similar session the previous day in the Loop.

Many of the DePaul staff members in attendance were concerned with a potential president’s approach, preferring a “shared governance” sort of leadership where the new president would continue working with the DePaul Student Government Association and faculty to make important decisions. Additionally, many of those in attendance hoped the incoming president would continue respecting the work-life balance of DePaul faculty and staff, keeping them “happy and invested.”

For the first time in DePaul’s history, the president may not be a priest of member of the Catholic Church. This has to do with the average age of a Vincentian priest being in their mid to late 70s. Even if the new president is not a member of the Catholic faith, staffers wanted presidential candidates to understand the importance of accepting and following Vincentian values.

One staff member in attendance acknowledged the push to make DePaul a “sanctuary campus” for undocumented students — a move they considered matching the Vincentian mission.  

Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has continued to be a topic of discussion and debate since his chaotic visit to campus last spring, and nods to his visit and what followed were repeatedly a part of the discussion. “There’s some brokenness on our campus,” one attendee said. “(A) sense we lost something (. . .) What would this president do to bring about healing?”

How exactly a new president would handle crises ranging from potential violence on campus to smaller conflicts such as the Yiannopoulos event appeared a main concern for the DePaul staffers in attendance.

One attendee asked, “how aggressively will the president defend DePaul?” 

Funding issues were another area of focus, with staffers inquiring about where candidates would invest and what areas of the budget they would be willing to cut. “We can’t enroll our way out of a hole,” one attendee said.

Similar listening sessions for students will be held Jan. 3 and all DePaul students can submit feedback in an online survey until Jan. 6.  

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DePaul staff voice concerns, suggestions to staff vetting committee