Jocelyn Buggy ‘22
On Monday, Nov. 16, the Student Government Association e-mailed students with a link to a Google Form titled “Presidential Selection Student Survey.” The anonymous survey, which was open exclusively to current College of the Holy Cross students, sought to gather student input in order to ensure that student voices are considered in the Presidential Search process. SGA created the Google Form to better understand the qualities and experiences desired by students in the next President of the College and to pass this information on to the Presidential Search Committee.
The SGA received a total of 342 survey responses. On a scale of 1-5 (1= Not Important, 5= Very Important), the average response to the question “How important is it that the next President is a Jesuit priest?” was 2.73. The average response to “How important is it that the next President has worked at a Jesuit institution?” was 3.27. 15 percent of respondents said they believe that the next President should be a layperson, while 55.7 percent were indifferent and 29.3 percent believe that they should not be a layperson. Perhaps the most telling results, however, were students’ answers to the question: “What are three words you are looking for in the next President?” The top responses included transparent, proactive, charismatic, empathetic, honest, open-minded, passionate, inclusive, understanding, caring, progressive, and Catholic.
Karter Seitz ‘22, Speaker of the SGA Senate, told The Spire: “We are forwarding these responses and the overall summary of results to the search committee, so they are aware of student concerns when identifying potential candidates for this position. It is important that the next president serves the best interest of our students, faculty, alumni, and the greater Holy Cross community, and these results will help ensure that student voices are heard by the search committee. In June 2021, our new president will inherit the ever-changing racial, environmental, and socioeconomic issues impacting our community. Considering the last five presidents of the college served for an average of ten years, the next president will directly impact the experiences of both current and prospective students. We trust that the selection committee will choose a leader that shares a similar dedication to addressing the issues on our campus.”
Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, Tom Joyce ‘82, affirmed the Committee’s hope to receive and consider student input throughout the process. He told The Spire: “At this point in the search, we are focused on using the input from across the Holy Cross community to inform a comprehensive profile of the ideal candidate. It is important to us that the voices of students, faculty, staff, and alumni are included in this phase so that we can search for a leader who will meet the needs of our community.”
Joyce also commented on the place of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Presidential Search process, something 27.9 percent of the SGA survey respondents said should be the top priority of the next President. He stated that both the Search Committee and Isaacson Miller “have established the critical priority of diversity, equity and inclusion associated with both the makeup of the initial slate of candidates as well as among the qualifications of any individual candidate.” “This will ensure,” Joyce said, “that women are represented in the slate of considered candidates. The process will also ensure that any finalist candidate fully embraces and demonstrates the importance of human dignity in all its dimensions and without qualification.”