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Few students contribute to search for Holtschneider’s replacement

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“How can we provide an education in a safe and healthy environment?”

“How does the next president plan to revitalize the mission at DePaul so everyone feels supported and safe?”

“How accessible would the new president be to students and faculty?”

“What would he or she change about DePaul, and why?”

These were just a handful of questions asked by students and committee members in a student listening session, which was held by the student vetting committee of DePaul’s presidential search last Tuesday. The forum, which assured anonymity to its attendees, allowed students to present topics they felt would be important to ask potential presidents before the committee meets with each candidate.

Off-limit subjects included those that could potentially be related to discrimination, such as race, gender and religion. Instead, questions largely focused on the future president’s responsibilities and relation to the university mission, such as the school’s commitment to diversity and ensuring the safety of its students.

Students also discussed increasing access to resources for first-generation students and students of color, lowering the price of food at the Student Center and ways in which professors could better incorporate city outings into their curriculum.

In addition to the forum, 65 students responded to an online survey sent out by the student vetting committee for those who couldn’t attend the meeting.

The student vetting committee is comprised of 10 members. Three are members of the Student Government Association (SGA), and seven were selected by SGA from a pool of student volunteers.

As per presidential search committee rules, the identities of the finalists will be kept anonymous.

“We have committed ourselves to confidentiality and really making sure that we’re protecting the identities of these finalists, and committing ourselves to representing the diverse opinions that appear within the DePaul population,” student vetting committee chair Gracie Covarrubias said at the meeting.

Members on the student vetting committee will deliberate for two hours in a Jan. 10 meeting in order to narrow down student feedback into five core questions. From there, the questions will be submitted to the 14-member search committee for approval. The student vetting committee will present the finalized questions in a two-hour meeting with each candidate. Follow-up questions will also be allowed during the meetings.

Current President Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., announced his resignation in June of last year. He will return to a tenured faculty position following a year away from the university.

The name of the new president will officially be announced in late February to early March.

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