In the past year, the Knox community saw a lot of changes in our administrative staff. Our Dean of Students Xavier Romano left Knox, and current Dean of Students Debbie Southern has filled his shoes since then. President Roger Taylor announced that the 2010-2011 academic year would be his last year as the president of the college. Stephen Bailey, who had already stepped down from his position as Associate Dean of the College to the Director for the Center of Research and Advanced Studies, abruptly retired at the end of the 2010 academic year (and did not even attend commencement).
And what voice have students had in these changes? How open has the school been about letting the students know what has happened with their administrators?
Not very. Prior to Romano’s resignation, students were given no information from the college about what was happening with him or his position. While we understand that campus issues can also be legal issues and therefore be sensitive in nature, we would have liked more than zero information about what was happening to an administrator that had been with us for over a decade.
When e-mails were sent out in the spring about selecting students to be members of the Presidential Search Committee in hopes of locating someone to take Taylor’s spot, students were given not even a week to apply and the students who are now on the committee are not allowed to talk about the process with other students.
Some administrators and faculty members at Knox might remember how unhappy Knox students were last year when it took the college what seemed like an eternity to announce the speaker for 2010’s commencement. Why would the college do this to its students instead of simply explaining the truth, that they took so long to announce the speaker, Tina Tchen, not because they were deciding between a plethora of eager candidates, but because they didn’t have anyone to fill the position until May?
The administration should take the opinions of students more seriously, as something worthy of being heard. Even things as simple as a forum—a place where students can see, hear and question possible candidates—for the new candidates for president of the college (an important position) would be nice to have.
No matter the changes the administration might have, we simply hope that students are more informed about them this year and in the future than we were last year.