The Collegian
Friday, February 03, 2023

Bisese selected as VP, but students bemoan selection process

Many students are satisfied with the decision to promote Richmond College Dean Stephen Bisese to vice president for student development, but some students expressed concern about the selection process.

Although two student representatives were chosen to serve on the search committee created to select Leonard Goldberg's replacement, one said he was not fully aware of how the committee functioned.

The student committee member, junior Mehrab Malek, said that he would like to think that, as a student, he was treated as an equal relative to the other members of the committee. But, he said that he did not know that President William E. Cooper, and not the committee, had the final word.

Senior Jackie Knupp, the other student representative, said, "We did not meet as a committee once the candidates were on campus."

Monday afternoon, two concerned students created and circulated a petition promoting Bisese as the most qualified of the four candidates. The petition, co-authored by seniors Theodore R. Straub and Andrew Ryan, was produced in response to growing concerns from a variety of students who felt left out of the selection process.

"We heard a lot of concerned comments and we wanted to see how many individuals were supporting the process," Straub said. "And even after reviewing the candidates' credentials, it is clear to me that Dean Bisese is the most qualified person for the job, and that's what this petition is expressing."

Straub brought the petition to Julie Tea's office Tuesday afternoon, though she was not there to receive it. Tea is the director of special projects in the president's office and chairwoman of the search committee.

Richmond College Student Government Association President Braxton Bragg and Westhampton College Government Association President Jessica Searles agreed with Straub and Ryan.

"The whole process was not very accessible to the students," Bragg said. "It seemed pretty secretive. The student governments were completely cut out and they asked nothing of us."

Bragg and Searles also said they were concerned about the way in which students were informed of the "Meet the Candidate" sessions, which were held this past week and gave people the opportunity to speak with the applicants.

"They were announced over break," Searles said. "If they really wanted students to show up they wouldn't have scheduled the meetings during the first week of class, during Greek rush week and in the middle of the afternoon during the peak class time."

The petition reads, "The undersigned members of the University Community feel that Dr. Stephen Bisese is the most qualified candidate to assume the position of Vice President of Student Development," and goes on to cite the reasons why.

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"Before giving the petition to people," Straub said, "we prefaced to see who was aware of the selection process and that the resumes had been read."

Tea said in an e-mail that she regretted that she was unable to respond to the Collegian's questions regarding the growing student concern.

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