Presidential Search Committee Event Draws Low Turnout

Committee discusses their goals in a public forum 


A panel with members from the Board of Visitors’ Presidential Search Committee met Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 2 p.m. to listen to students and faculty at Mason. The panel consisted of student body president Camden Layton, Vice Rector of the Board of Visitors Jimmy Hazel and Faculty Senate Chair Shannon Davis. The focus of the panel was to hear students and faculty explain their thoughts and opinions of both the selection process and Mason’s yet-to-be-decided president. 

The panel received low turnout, with only a few of the seats in the JC Bistro being filled at any point during the event. This was remarked upon by one of the students in attendance. “It’s the second Tuesday at school at 2 p.m. after a three-day weekend during like [several] different class times … I know that things happen, but this is a trend that I’ve seen since 2015,” said the graduate student.

Davis responded by stating that she understood this was not the optimal time for a meeting, but explained that this was one of the only times that she, Layton and Hazel were all available at in the near future. 

Students also raised concerns about the makeup of the Board of Visitors, the body ultimately responsible for the presidential selection. The panel was asked about the presence of several businesspeople and the GMU Foundation — the private body that handles donations to Mason — on the panel. 

“[The Northern Virginia business community] is another community that is important to the university because they are our partners on so many things … they also hire a lot of our graduates when they leave here, so it’s important to hear from them,” Hazel said of the committee at large, adding that “we were trying to put together what we think is a fairly balanced committee.”

Davis stated that, “I truly believe this Board of Visitors has in its heart of hearts the true interest of the university community as its first priority.” 

The committee will be sending out advertisements and a job description to both local and national newspapers. However, Hazel added that “in reality, the next individual who is going to be president [is] probably … going to be a referral or something like that. We do have a professional search consultant … People are already calling her. We have plenty of strong candidates.”

According to Hazel, the search committee hopes to have the selection process done over the winter and believes that the new president will be announced at a Board of Visitors’ meeting on Feb. 27.

Even with changes to the schedule, both Hazel and Davis assured students that the incoming president will not be announced while school is out of session.  

When asked about what the committee would like the next president to do, Hazel stated, “It’s entirely possible we might hire somebody who will not only continue current initiatives but actually bring a new one that we haven’t heard about yet.” 

Hazel further stated that the committee will ensure the next president continues working to prepare the school for the arrival of Amazon to NoVa. “it’s coming whether we are part of it or not, so better to be a part of it than not.”