Mar 082009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Contrary to requests from student government leaders, the CSU System Board of Governors will not allow a student to sit on the search committee charged with selecting the system’s next chancellor, a BOG spokesperson said Sunday.

Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of CSU, said he voiced his concern with the board’s committee assignments — which only include seats for BOG members and leaders from Colorado’s political and business communities — at the BOG meeting last month to no avail.

Last week, Smoot and David Fresquez, president of CSU-Pueblo’s Associated Students’ Government, sent letters of grievance to board chair Doug Jones, asking for his reconsideration in the decision.

“Without having a student on the committee, I think (the board is) missing a very viable element that could really help out in the vetting process of the (chancellor) candidates,” Smoot said, noting that he does not intend to slow or hinder the selection process by advocating for the student voice.

BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney said the board’s decision was based on the idea that the search committee will hire the system’s chief executive officer position, which will manage its multi-million dollar operation and work primarily as a fundraiser with the state legislature rather than the CSU campuses.

She cited the board-led stakeholder meetings, which asked students, faculty and staff for input regarding the chancellor’s qualifications, as proof that student opinion has been included.

Additionally, she said Smoot and Fresquez, who act as non-voting board members, will be able to voice student opinions when the committee presents its final candidate recommendations to the BOG.

“If students were really so concerned, I’m surprised they didn’t show up at the search committee meeting (last Friday),” she said.

Smoot called Jones’ decision unacceptable and said he will continue to push for a student seat.

Search committee proceedings began last week, which McKinney said hinders the likelihood that additional committee members will be appointed.

The group’s next meetings are scheduled for April 8 and, tentatively, May 4. The necessity of a second meeting will depend on what is accomplished in April, McKinney said.

She said that though the BOG will make the final hiring decision for the chancellor, the committee will likely narrow the nationwide search to a sole finalist.

Chancellor nominations and applications are being accepted via the CSU system’s Web site, and an application deadline will be set this week, though McKinney said the position will remain open until filled.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at

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