Editorial: Presidential search lacks student representation; an open letter to the SGA and SAS presidents



Morrison Hall on the campus of Wichita State University.

The Kansas Board of Regents named members for Wichita State’s presidential search committee on Thursday. Only two students were named in the 20-person committee.

That means only two students will represent the 15,000 students that attend the university.

Kitrina Miller, student body president, and Brandon Eckerman, Student Ambassador Society president, will be the only students to serve on the committee and be involved in the closed search for Wichita State’s new president.

Only two students were also appointed to the presidential search committee in 2011 that ultimately chose late President John Bardo. However, it’s different this time.

With the search being closed, and not open like in previous years, no other students will be able to meet, interact or even look at a candidate’s resume. In fact, there’s more representation for Wichita State’s public-private partnerships on the committee than students with Koch Industries CFO Steve Feilmeier, Spirit AeroSystems President and CEO Tom Gentile, and Airbus Americas Vice President of Engineering John O’Leary all on the committee. Not to mention the people on the committee that also serve on Wichita State’s Innovation Alliance Board, the governing entity that oversees Innovation Campus.

This isn’t how it should be.

Wichita State prided themselves on getting “student input” for the Shock the Future referendum, but where’s the student input for the most important job on this campus?

So, Kitrina and Brandon, as the only students on this committee — use your voices. Talk to students about what they want in their new university president. Do not be intimidated by the other voices in the room.

As student representatives of this committee, and in your respective roles as SGA president and SAS president, it’s your duty to make sure student voices are heard in a decision that will affect the university for years to come, well past most students’ four-year careers here.