By Ülvi Gitaliyev
It is already well known that President Lyle Roelofs is going to depart Berea College in 2023. The search for his replacement though, has only just begun.
On March 14th, three representatives from Academic Search, a company hired by Berea College for the specific purpose of finding a new president, came to hear students’ opinions on what a new president should look like . Technically, the meeting was open to all students, but unfortunately, only four people showed up at the event. Fortunately, one of those four was yours truly and so, I will fill you up to date with the search for a new president. The other students present were either from the SGA or The Pinnacle.
After a short introduction, all participants were asked if they had a magic wand, what they would change about Berea. One person suggested “changing the heart and character” of those around Berea, while another wanted to expand the number of coffee shops with non-toxic owners. What caught my attention the most was when one person stated “Berea College has a mission.” Naturally, a president of Berea College has a moral responsibility to carry out its progressive mission not just on the campus, but beyond it as well.
Even though only four people were present, all of us were buzzing with ideas. We spent the rest of the meeting discussing what qualities the future of Berea College should have. There was a consensus among students that the college have had enough old white men (no offense to all the old white men out there) presidents and the time had come for some diversity. Of course, progressive character and track record, regardless of gender and race, is also important. Academic Search will continue speaking to students, staff, faculty and even those in the town of Berea to tailor a candidate that best fits Berea College and its mission.
The application process will start in the Summer of 2022. Candidates and nominees will be interviewed nationally with a special focus on the Appalachian region. They expect to find the final candidate shortly before or after the 2023 New Year.
A survey will be sent out to all students on Wednesday, asking for their thoughts and suggestions on what values the new president should embody. If you did not come to the meeting yesterday (which almost none of you did), then make sure to fill out the survey!