Search committee adds student

By David Slettevold - Staff Reporter

While faculty members have now chosen their representatives, the process for choosing a student for the Highline presidential search committee is just beginning with a forum scheduled for next Wednesday.

Faculty members on Tuesday completed their election process by naming English professor Gayatri Sirohi, and economics, political science and journalism professor Dr. T.M. Sell to represent them on the search committee.

The presidential search was prompted by Dr. Jack Bermingham's retirement. Dr. Bermingham officially stepped down in July, in part due to health concerns after heart surgery.

After pressure from the Highline Student Government, the Board of Trustees gave the Student Government permission to start looking for a student to join the presidential search committee.

"The Board of Trustees is leaving it up to us," said Student Government President Vanessa Primer.

Primer has already laid out several ideas for what the ideal student candidate looks like.

"We have considerations," she said. "It's extremely important they understand the commitment they're making."

One of those great commitments, Primer said, is time. The student will need to spend at least 40 hours reading applications and essays from students next quarter, as well as communicate with Student Government about the search. It will be a two- or three-week process.

"There's a pretty humongous time commitment," she said, "and that can be a problem for students."

Primer also said that the student representative will need to be active on the committee.

The student needs to ask questions and represent the concerns of the student body, she said.

Primer wants to make sure that student involvement at Highline is rewarded by change at the college, and not ignored.

"There are schools that are like that. Iron-fist ran," she said. "They don't understand the success of the college relies on involvement."

More than anything, the student representative will have to be careful with their selection, she said.

"We have a unique college that needs a unique president," Primer said. "This student has to represent all of us and find a president that represents all of us."

Primer said that with only three Student Government officers, there is only so much they can take on.

"Because there are only three of us, there's only so much we can do. So, we have committees," she said. "The search committee… is a committee for the whole school."

Right now, Primer said that the search is just starting.

"We have some possibilities. We might make our decisions in two weeks [or] we might have open [applications] instead," she said.

Mahlet Tiruneh, Student Government vice president, said the search is still trying to get off of the ground.

"We haven't got a lot of info on it yet," she said.

A forum for the student search committee will be held soon, Tiruneh said.

"There," she said, "we can hear from our students."

Dr. Jonathan Brown, Student Government adviser, said the event should be very important for students.

"Is this the only time students can give input?" he asked. "I don't know. What if it is? If so, I'd love to have support for this event."

The forum will take place on Dec. 6 from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Building 2.

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