On Friday, November 6, Carleton’s Associate Vice President for External Relations Joe Hargis sent out an email requesting feedback to inform the work of the Presidential Search Committee. The committee began meeting after all seventeen members were confirmed in late October.
The search for the next Carleton president began in August after President Steven Poskanzer announced his decision to step down in July 2021. The committee was created by the Board of Trustees shortly after the announcement.
Student members of the committee—Lucas Demetriades ’22, Andrew Farias ’21 and Molly Zuckerman ’22—were selected in the following two months. Other members of the committee include five trustees, four faculty, two staff and three alumni.
Farias, the president of the Carleton Student Association (CSA), said he was “reached out to by committee chairs [to] bridge the connection between students and the administration [and] connect with varying groups on campus.” Farias’s goal as a committee member is to “uplift student voices” and “reach different parts” of the student body.
Farias and other student committee members are working toward greater engagement with the student body. A schoolwide email said community members can get involved by providing feedback on institutional priorities through a previously emailed survey that closes on November 19.
The survey asks what traits and experiences people are looking for in the incoming president, what distinctive aspects of Carleton might attract someone to the presidency and what presidential responsibilities people see as most important.
Farias hosted a Zoom meeting that was open to the entire student body on November 12, and will host “office hours over the next couple of weeks” to “listen to what people are saying.”
Farias said that the committee is “lacking in Black voices” which makes it important to “do outreach more than ever,” especially in “bring[ing] qualities and ideas” of underrepresented voices like first generation students and students of color. He plans to achieve this through discussions with “individual student organizations [involved in] cultural, environmental and political advocacy.”
After these rounds of feedback, Farias said members of the committee will put together a “job description based on [desired] characteristics and qualities.”
He revealed that one of the challenges in navigating this process is “balancing transparency [toward students] and privacy of applicants.”
On Carleton’s presidential search website, co-chairs Cathy Paglia ’74 and Wally Weitz ’70 wrote that the committee has agreed to abide by the search process for Carleton’s twelfth president and “maintain strict confidentiality.” All members are not permitted to disclose information about individual applicants.