Presidential uncertainty: Five years ago, President Esteban was hired. His replacement remains unknown

DePaul plans to hire a new university president by Easter weekend, according to Student Government Association (SGA) President Watfae Zayed during their general body meeting Thursday night.

The university, however, has not commented if what Zayed said is in fact true regarding the timeline about hiring a new president.

Zayed is one of 15 people on the search committee.

“Although our search process has been extended, our goal of selecting a new president before the end of this academic year remains unchanged,” a DePaul spokesperson told The DePaulia on Friday.

The university hired current DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban on Feb. 20, 2017.

In this current search, however, DePaul is not likely to hire a new president before spring quarter starts. According to Dorn, Esteban has no role in the search process.

Dorn reaffirmed that Esteban is still planning to leave DePaul on June. 30.

DePaul has recently had a setback in its process to find a new president, with two of the four finalists deciding to take their name out of consideration due to “personal considerations,” according to Judy Greffin, chair of the search advisory committee.

The reconsideration has delayed the search, but it’s unclear to what extent or why.

“We prefer to have a full slate to present to the Board,” Greffin said on Feb. 2 “ Given this preference, we plan to continue the work of the Search Advisory Committee to evaluate additional candidates.”

The DePaulia has requested two times to do an interview with Greffin, but has been refused both times by the university.

Those on the student vetting committee were not given much information about any of the candidates thus far and have not received detailed updates about the search process, according to a source.

The four candidates would have been brought to campus in early February “for sessions with key constituents including vetting committees – student, faculty, staff, senior administrators, and board,” Greffin wrote in a Jan. 14 update.

Originally, the search advisory committee would have submitted its own confidential report on the finalists, in addition to separate vetting committee reports, to the board for their consideration in late February.

DePaul has not released the names of any of the finalists or people in consideration for the job, which is consistent with how the university conducted its search five years ago.

“…The names of finalists will not be shared publicly to protect the confidentiality of the candidates. Even so, students, faculty and staff can expect an inclusive and collaborative finalist interview process,” DePaul spokesperson Russell Dorn said. “All finalists will meet with vetting committees comprised of representatives selected by Faculty Council, Staff Council and Student Government Association.”

“Considering students make up a large majority of the DePaul community, it is super important to have student representation in the presidential search,” Zayed previously said in an email to The DePaulia. “Actually, students should be the most represented group in the search, even though that’s unfortunately not the case with this one. Without students, there’s no university and our input should be considered when making such a big decision.”

“As Judy Greffin, chair of the search advisory committee, mentioned in her Feb. 2 correspondence with the university community, the search advisory committee will continue the search process until the best candidate emerges from the field, with the continued expectation that they begin their role as president of DePaul on July 1,” Dorn said.

Esteban is planning to step aside from the university at the end of this school year. He has spent five years as DePaul’s president.

Esteban surprised DePaul five years ago for being appointed the university’s first lay president.

“DePaul has been led for 120 years by Vincentian priests so this spirit is in our DNA, it’s in the DNA of everything,” Professor Fr. Patrick McDevitt, a member of the Vincentian order, said at the time. “DePaul is going to inform the new president, this new president will learn from the institution and they will get it because it’s in the DNA. There’s no way to gut this.”

Esteban has come under fire from students and faculty for a lack of transparency over his tenure.

He announced he was stepping down in an email last June.

“After much prayer and reflection, I have discerned this is the time for me to shift my focus and energy to my personal and familial journey, and away from our shared institutional endeavors,” Esteban said in the email. “Now may be the best time for my wife, Jo, and me to pursue some of our other dreams, which includes discovering different ways to serve others.”