COLUMN: Make our voices heard at upcoming VP of Students Affairs forums


All year long we've demanded to have our voices heard, it's time to do it again.

The rest of this week will have opportunities to come together for the good of the student body. 

Finalists for the position of Vice President for Student Affairs will visit campus April 13-15 for interviews and open forums. This administrative position was created after the university split offices that deal with both enrollment and student services last year. 

For the first time in many years, there will be an administrator dedicated to preserving campus life for students. 

Do we need a whole new administrative position? Many would say no.

Regardless, the university will hire for this position. Now more than ever, students deserve to have a say in who that person will be. 

That's the purpose of the upcoming open forums.

Open forums are held for most administrative positions to give the campus community the chance to speak to candidates directly. You will be able to ask them questions about their background, priorities, and plans if they are hired.

These may be the most important administrative forums for students - especially if you are part of a registered student organization, need to fill volunteer hours or just want to see our campus become more vibrant and interesting.

What falls under the umbrella of student affairs? 

The Center for Student Inclusion and Diversity, Counseling Center, Leadership Institute, Residence Life, Sexual Aggression Services, Student Activities, Student Conduct, Student Disability Services, Student Media, University Recreation, the Volunteer Center and more.

In other words, pretty much everything that makes campus life fun, safe, accessible and inspiring. 

It's without question, that the person who oversees these departments must have students' best interests at heart.

It's up to us to tell them what we want to see. 

Read about all three candidates in CM Life's story or on CMU's website.

Attend the open forums to be an advocate for the organizations that define your college experience. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions. Take the opportunity to use your voice.

And don't stop there. 

After the forums, email members of the search committee and share your thoughts. 

Members of the search committee for the VP of student affairs are listed below: 

  • (Chair) Shawna Patterson-Stephens, vice president and chief diversity officer
  • Jonathan Glenn, associate athletic director/student leadership, athletics.
  • Addison Hoekstra, undergraduate student.
  • Eltaro Hooper, civil rights and Title IX investigator, Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity.
  • Anne Hornak, faculty, educational leadership.
  • Kate King, undergraduate student and president, Student Government Association.
  • Laura Martinez, officer, CMU Police Department.
  • Eric Pouncil, graduate student.
  • Erik Rodriguez, public relations manager, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
  • James Span Jr., executive director, Student Inclusion and Diversity.
  • Ayeba Wilson, graduate student.
  • Kyle Pybus-Jerome, ceremonies and events coordinator, President’s Office (Admin Support/Human Resources

After all, an administrator with "student" in their title can't ignore student voices.