The search for president begins

Story by Ciara Benham, Staff writer

Students made their voices heard about the qualities they are looking for in the future president of Murray State.

The Murray State Presidential Search Committee held an open forum on Nov. 28, where students gathered to present the committee with their opinions on attributes the next president should bring to the campus.

This forum followed a faculty and staff forum that took place on Nov. 12, where staff were afforded the same opportunities to speak up about their wants and needs. Lisa Rudolph, presidential search committee chair, led both of these events.

“This is the initial phase of the journey toward the 14th president of Murray State University and it is not by accident that we start with the faculty, staff and students because you are the face of the University,”  Rudolph said.

Rudolph went on to explain in depth why the students’ input matters to the committee.

“We are very interested to know what you want in the next president, what his or her skill set should be and what goals you are looking at,” Rudolph said.

The topic that was discussed by almost all students was the need for change in areas such as recruitment, financial stability and updating the campus. The subject was spearheaded by Student Government Association President J.T. Payne.

“To be blunt, in recent years, Murray State has been headed in the wrong direction,” Payne said. “We need someone that is not afraid of change, who is not afraid to be bold, and who is not afraid to do what is necessary to turn this ship back in the right direction.”

Students voiced their concerns about the declining enrollment rates and how the future president should tackle the issue.

Trey Book, junior from Henderson, Kentucky, spoke about the issues he believes the president should resolve concerning recruitment.

“Five to 10 years ago our enrollment started declining,” Book said. “We want to make sure that enrollment continues to go up by updating the campus. I want someone who comes into the campus and breathes life into it.”

Financial stability was a concern that was discussed throughout the forum.

Lauren Campbell, senior from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, discussed that the president’s priority should be to resolve the University’s debt.

“Above all else, we need someone who is financially literate,” Campbell said. “We are in a huge hole right now. $4.5 million to be exact. If that isn’t fixed, we aren’t going to raise enrollment rates and we aren’t going to be able to fix things on campus.”

The first official meeting of the President Search Committee will be held on Dec. 7, and the committee hopes to hold more open forums in the future to get a collaborative input from the community. Lisa Rudolph assured the students that their input was heard and will be used in the selec-tion process.

“We will look at the applications and we will try to closely match that with what the students have told us, the faculty and staff told us and what the community has told us,” Rudolph said.

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