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The Gatepost Editorial: Students: It’s time to show up!

Last week, four candidates were announced as the finalists for the vice president of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE).

Therefore, eight open forums have been scheduled for faculty, librarians, and students to learn more about the candidates and share their questions and concerns.

These open forums will then be followed with opportunities to provide feedback that will be taken into consideration in the final stages of the search process.

With the administrative turnover Framingham State has seen in recent years, searches and open forums are nothing new.

Today will mark approximately 395 days since the search for a new vice president of DICE was initially announced by former President F. Javier Cevallos.

In those almost 400 days that the position has largely been vacant, three other major administrative position searches have occurred.

Students had nine opportunities to attend open forums for the candidates of those positions - both in person and online via Zoom.

However, student attendance at those open forums was sparse at best.

When universities such as ours give us the opportunity to have a say, we should take it.

Student organizations and campus events have seen a significant increase in engagement since the COVID-19 pandemic ended.

Students have decided it is once again time to immerse themselves in the Framingham State community.

Let’s keep it going by showing up to these candidate open forums.

These first few weeks of the semester have demonstrated the importance of the vice president of DICE position.

We thank Wardell Powell for his work in the interim role this semester.

Now let’s fill it - permanently.

We have been waiting a long time for the search for a permanent hire to come to fruition.

Today, the first candidate is up and he is already well known to students. Eric Nguyen, director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence, is in the running to become the next vice president of DICE.

The next candidate will be Jennifer “Jaime” Nolan, associate vice president for community, equity, and inclusive excellence at Washington State University, on Oct. 3.

Then, Renee Wells, assistant vice president of education for equity and inclusion at Middlebury College, on Oct. 6.

And finally, Jeffrey K. Coleman, a diversity, equity, and inclusion higher education scholarly practitioner, on Oct. 7.

Each candidate will have their student open forum at 9:30 a.m. followed by the faculty and librarian one at 10:30 a.m. These are available both online via Zoom and in person at the Alumni Room.

This leaves students with four opportunities to get to know a candidate and provide useful feedback to the University from the students’ perspective.

The more open forums students go to, the more informed they can be of who is the right choice for our institution.

We recommend students go to all four to ensure they are familiar with each candidate.

But do not show up unprepared - come with questions.

Ask the candidates about their successes and setbacks in the field, what they would hope to achieve at FSU, and how they would plan to do it.

What do these candidates bring to the table? We have the ability to find out.

We suggest bringing the same set of questions to each candidate to see how the responses vary and identify which align most with the values of our institution.

However, coming to these open forums won’t matter if students do not also fill out the surveys that follow to provide feedback on each of the candidates.

After waiting so long for this position to be filled, we deserve it to be the right person for our community.

Help us make the right decision.


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