Story by Tim Webber
After two close votes on Thursday night, Drake Student Senate selected the two students who will serve on the Presidential Search Committee to help locate a replacement to President Maxwell when he retires next summer.
As is customary, the incoming Student Body President – in this case, Joey Gale – will serve on the committee.
Gale will be joined by Selchia Cain.
Cain has previously helped in the selection process to hire new RAs, and this year was asked to sit on the Outstanding Senior of the Year selection committee.
“As President Maxwell retires after seventeen years of service to our University, I understand he leaves large shoes to fill,” Cain said. “Having been invested in Drake for the past three years, I have had the opportunity to understand the concerns within the Drake community. I feel that my ideas and experiences will complement the goals and visions of our newly elected Student Body President.”
“Even if you’re not necessarily a student senator, I think it’s important to be a part of this conversation,” current Student Body President David Karaz said. “President Maxwell made a significant difference in his seventeen years here at Drake, so let’s make sure we pick the next President who can do the same.
Elections were the prevailing theme at Thursday’s Senate meeting.
In addition to voting on the members of the search committee, the Senate devoted a large period of time to the upcoming general Senate elections.
Many of the academic and at-large candidates for Senate positions were in attendance, and the vast majority spoke on why they decided to run for a Senate seat and their intentions and goals for the Senate going forward.
Karaz commended this year’s crop of candidates.
“By and far you are the most authentic and focused candidates I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been at Drake,” Karaz said to the candidates. “Thanks for being here.”
The general Senate elections are being held today.
Nine at-large and six academic seats are up for election.
Olivia O’Hea also gave a presentation on rumors that have been circulating about updates to Drake’s strategic plan.
O’Hea touched on multiple hot-button issues involving the current strategic plan, including concerns over an excessive number of committees and taskforces, and rumors of potential spending cuts.
O’Hea cited the current student/faculty ratio of 12:1, and noted that some departments have significantly larger or smaller ratios.
However, O’Hea reassured the Senate that there would be no automatic cuts following the evaluation.
At the center of these issues are finances.
“Drake is not in a risk area. Our applications are up, and our endowment is also going up,” O’Hea said. “However, just because we’re (doing well) now doesn’t mean that we’re going to be forever.”
O’Hea pointed out similar institutions which are struggling with tuition increases and budget cuts.
“We can’t avoid that forever,” O’Hea said, explaining the reasoning behind potential strategic plan updates.
In other business, the Senate approved the establishment of the Community Advisory Board as a service organization at Drake.
Last week, this issue had been tabled due to wording in the motion that labeled the board as a “governing organization.”
The motion was amended at this week’s meeting to establish the board as a service organization, and was quickly passed.
The Community Advisory Board will look to connect individuals and service organizations with volunteer opportunities across the Drake and Des Moines community.
Associate Dean of Students Ann Miller introduced the new Director of Olmsted Services and Operations, Tony Tyler.
Tyler was previously the hall coordinator for Stalnaker and Goodwin-Kirk.
At Olmsted, Tyler will help with programming activities and will facilitate some of its current changes, such as the rearrangement and appropriation of furniture and spacing in Olmsted.