Students seek emphasis of inclusion in presidential search

Anderson Hall at sunset. (Benjamin Voller | Collegian Media Group)

With President Richard Myers retiring at the end of the semester, the Kansas Board of Regents is searching for his replacement. Some Kansas State students shared their thoughts on what values the new president should hold.

“Definitely somebody who is pro-student and pro-education,” Carson Ackerman, sophomore in mass communications, said.

Daniel Lopez, senior in engineering, said he would like to see more programs that suit his area but would also like a curriculum that better fits today’s society.

“More of a focus towards STEM,” Lopez said. “I hope [they] like to promote change. A lot of the courses at K-State are slowly becoming irrelevant as the world changes. So, hopefully, it’s someone who is open to change and willing to make things more relevant to the changing world.”

Ackerman said while it is not the most important factor in finding the president, adding some youth to the office might be beneficial.

“I definitely feel like a change of pace could be beneficial,” Ackerman said. “Someone younger, better in touch with the students. Somebody who empathizes with the students at a greater level.”

Lopez said on top of youth, a driven and non-typical president would be helpful to the campus.

“Somebody younger would be great … just somebody who is really passionate about doing it,” Lopez said. “It would be cool to get somebody different. The president is more of just an image. Which is why it might be better to have someone from a different background because that could promote K-State to showing change unlike the [~76%] of student body that is white.”

John Klimiuk, junior in mathematics, said he thinks the new president should be strong in fulfilling the campus’ needs.

“They probably need to have a strong personality to be able to fight for what we need on campus,” Klimiuk said. “If they’re nice, they’re just going to be a pushover.”

Klimiuk said he thinks the search should be more about what is inside than the physical appearance.

“It’s more about personality,” Klimiuk said. “There can be good leaders and bad leaders. I don’t think it necessarily depends on how you look, but how you act.”

One area of consensus among these students is that diversity and inclusion need to be a focal point in the search.

“Definitely inclusion and being able to see the bigger picture in things,” Klimiuk said.

Anna Weigel, senior in marketing, said representation is important, which is why it should be a focus of the presidential search.

“I would want the new president to increase the focus on making all students feeling included at K-State,” Weigel said. “The diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are increasingly important. [It’s important] they are open to and appreciate listening to people who look and act all different ways and have different beliefs.”

The Kansas Board of Regents is currently accepting applications through Oct. 15, with the new president set to take over in January 2022.