What students want, need from presidential search

The university is more prone to change than ever with a new school year and the search for a new president in full swing. With that being said, it’s important that the search committee charged with finding the school’s new leader knows what’s on students minds during this transition.

UTD has seen huge growth in the last decade. Building after building has sprung up as glass and steel have started to replace the draconian architecture that characterized the UTD of old. The North Mall is finally (finally!) open after renovations made it look like a scene out of “Terminator” for the past year. As students, this is the kind of physical change we need on campus, and under the former president, David Daniel, that’s the kind of change we got.

Now that Daniel is on to bigger and better endeavors as the deputy chancellor for the University of Texas System, we want to make sure that we have a president that has a similar focus on expansion. As UTD grows in population, we need to have a campus that keeps up. Yes, that may mean more construction plaguing us, but isn’t that worth it in the long run?

Specifically, the school is in desperate need of more apartments.  The residence halls have greatly helped to increase the population of students living on campus, specifically freshmen. But older students who want to find an affordable, quality place to live on campus increasingly have to fight tooth and nail to get a lease. More apartments on the main campus would help to improve life for countless upperclassmen that just want  to live close to where they get an education.

Construction has seemed to be no problem for UTD in the last few years, so there’s no doubt that the problem will be taken care of once officials recognize the need for more housing. Hopefully the new president, whoever he or she is, makes this a top priority. While this seems like an easy problem to fix, there are others that are not so simple.

Under Daniel, UTD transformed from a commuter school to a lively, vibrant campus. It’s hard to get around at times due to the number of students that flood the school grounds. Sadly, very few of them knew the man who was most responsible for making UTD what it is today. Part of that is because of the student’s lack of basic knowledge about the school and the other part was Daniel’s lack of presence on campus.

While Daniel did many great things, it sometimes felt like he was the king in the castle known as the Administration Building. You could see him every now and then at an event interacting with students, but you couldn’t find him every day out and about. This may be nitpicking – especially when Daniel had so much to oversee – but it would be a definite boost to university life for students to actually know who the president is.

Still, no one is saying the student body won’t miss Daniel. He did much more than anyone could have asked for UTD. Ultimately, if the search committee could find someone on par with him, that would be like a back-to-back championship run. That being said, students deserve to know exactly who is being considered to lead UTD.

University business at the administration level has a tendency to be covered in red tape. It’s very rare that students have an active look at the processes that affect their lives. That can’t be the case in the search for the new president. Students should know exactly who’s being considered. The university system and UTD officials need to make the best efforts possible to consistently publish updates on the search. If this candidate is going represent us, it’s the least we can ask for.

Going forward, the new president will play an integral role in shaping the future of our university. We need someone who can not only match Daniel’s legacy, but improve upon it. It’s a difficult task for the search committee, but it’s one that must be done.

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