WEB EXTRA: SA seeks student input on presidential search

Student Association President-elect Lamar Thorpe wants to know what students want from the next University president.

Thorpe, who will be the only student on a committee searching for the new president, has already begun to solicit input from students about who should replace Stephen Joel Trachtenberg when his contract expires in July 2007.

Teaming up with freshman Sen. Nicole Capp (CCAS-U) and some other senators, Thorpe scheduled five town hall meetings across campus this week for students to share their opinion of characteristics the next University president should possess.

“This is their university and they should be involved in the policy that shapes their university experience,” said Thorpe, a junior.

The new University president will replace Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, who will retire in July 2007 after 19 years as GW’s top official.

The meetings, held over four nights in the Marvin Center, Thurston Hall, and the Hall on Virginia Avenue and Mount Vernon Campus, included an eight-question form with a discussion on the next president’s priorities, possible minority status, GW experience and other traits.

After three meetings about 200 students had filled out questionnaires, Thorpe said. Thorpe will be hosting a final meeting in the Multicultural Student Service Center on G Street Thursday night.

Student reaction at the meetings has been mixed. While some simply fill out a questionnaire and move on, others are more outspoken in their opinions.

“I would like to see him or her make GW less like a business and more like a college,” junior Rebecca Lockwood said.

While students said they generally like Trachtenberg, they said the next president should garner the support of students.

“The president should be someone who can interact with students well,” freshman Natalie Taggart said.

Thorpe said that he was happy with the meetings’ turnout and is hoping to get a better idea of what students really want for their next University president. Thorpe said he is interested in a minority president and one who is interested in residential development.

“If it were up to me, I would be a very biased perspective,” said Thorpe. “That is why I came to the people. It wouldn’t be fair to bring my perspective to the Board of Trustees.”

The search committee that will be established this May to choose the next University president will have 12 or 13 members, said Board of Trustees Chairman Charles Manatt this week. In addition to Thorpe, the 2006 committee will include three faculty members and eight or nine University trustees, Manatt said. Members of the search committee will be announced at the May 19 meeting of the University Board of Trustees.

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