Friday, June 9, 2023

SUNY Plattsburgh searches for president again

Instead of experiencing a woman president for the first time in its history, SUNY Plattsburgh will undergo additional candidate forums, that begin Sept 9, before a new president is appointed.

Until the forums are concluded and a new president is appointed by SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, Vice President for Administration Josee Larochelle has been named officer-in-charge for the time being. She possesses the same authority as any sitting president of SUNY Plattsburgh.

“It is an honor to serve the college and campus community in this capacity. SUNY Plattsburgh has an incredibly talented group of faculty and staff who are committed, on a daily basis, to doing everything they can to support student success,” Larochelle said via email statement. “It is a true privilege to help them in their work as we move together through this significant transition.”

Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ann Hansen said she was disappointed when she found out.

Hansen has a position on the SUNY Plattsburgh Presidential Search Committee as non-voting College Staff liaison. She said the news was delivered via email by Chancellor Johnson’s liaison last may with no explanation to why no candidate finalist was appointed at the time.

Hanson said she is unsure of the reasoning behind Johnson and the Board of Trustees’ decision.

Johnson and the SUNY Board of Trustees are responsible for appointing a finalist for the president position after conducting interviews in Albany. Hansen said this occurs after the four committee council members narrow down three finalists who will advance.

“We basically are engaged in a process to narrow down a pool of candidates so we can make recommendations of some top candidates to consider,” Hansen said. “After the college council recommends three finalists to send to Albany, we are done as a campus with our part of the process. After that, the SUNY system takes over the process.”

Given the situation, the committee resumed its search for a leader to replace the retired John Ettling. Hansen said the committee has chosen six candidates from a pool of 150; a larger number than last year’s of about 120 according to Hansen.

Hansen and the committee have been conducting the search since last spring. She describes it as a big project she is honored to be a part of. She says she is excited about the six candidates visiting campus.

Some SUNY Plattsburgh students say they would have welcomed a women president with open arms but are disappointed with the outcome.

“A female [president] would set the bar for other females on campus,” SUNY Plattsburgh junior Mia Santana said. “Women on campus need a female representative.”

The news at the end of last Spring left SUNY Plattsburgh students disappointed and confused according to Presidential Search Committee Student Representative Steffaney Jabaut. Jabaut serves as the student voice on the committee and provides other members with her insight as a SUNY Plattsburgh student.

“We are restarting our search and broadening our horizons,” Jabaut said. “Though [the students] may be confused, I think they’ll be happy with the outcome.”

The Candidate forums will continue for three weeks starting September 9. Similar to last spring, each candidate’s resume will be put on the website until said candidate’s departure.

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