Questions we would’ve asked the presidential candidates

By The Editorial Board

In this time of confusion surrounding the selection of NIU’s new president, the university has been reluctant to release information about the candidates. What has been released to the Northern Star is a list of more 200 sample questions from a packet about the presidential search obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

One question in particular stuck out to the Editorial Board: “What do you know about our college/university?”

We have voiced our desire for the presidential search process to be transparent. These are the questions the Editorial Board would have asked the candidates if given the chance.

What will you do to help give students more of a voice in campus affairs?

Why: Students’ concerns aren’t taken seriously by the university. We were barely involved in the presidential search process. The Student Association is supposed to act as a bridge between students and administration, but run-of-the-mill students are rarely, if ever, given a chance to voice their opinions and explain what they want to be different at NIU.

We’re never empowered, and that needs to change.

If you were president how would you go about hiring a new athletic director? Would you try and give a chance to a guppy or try and reel in a big fish from a big school? What would be some improvements you would like to see to the department as the president?

Why: The new president will be in charge of hiring the new athletic director. With athletics being such a big part in making money and getting NIU national attention, it will be interesting to see who is hired to be the new director. Jeff Compher did a great job in his time here in trying to improve the football and basketball programs. Some of his moves might not have worked out, but he made the right decisions at the time.

In lieu of recent events at NIU, if you were faced with a scandal or crisis, how would you handle it? Would you take a hands-on approach or a behind-closed-doors approach to solve the problem?

Why: Since NIU has faced scandals and corruption in the past, we as students want to know how our next president would handle the pressure and stress of a situation that could cause our school and the students to look bad. We should be able to look at our president as both a supportive and authoritative figure. Our next president should have a hands-on approach if a problem arises and shouldn’t just push it aside and let the public relations department take care of things.

Due to the secretive nature of the presidential search process, how are you going to gain the student body’s and the community’s trust?

Why: NIU is no stranger to tragedy and scandal, and we have to worry the university is not the candidate’s No. 1 priority. If our future president can’t let us know that he or she would like the position, how can we expect them to let us know when there are more severe problems on campus?

If you could be president of NIU for only a day, what would you do?

Why: This would be a way to see what the candidates believe are important issues at NIU. By giving a deadline for change, we can see what they want to accomplish and how they prioritize.

With fall enrollment at its lowest since 1996, what do you plan on doing to fulfill President John Peters’ Vision 2020 goal of reaching 30,000 students?

Why: Peters’ Vision 2020 needs to be revamped by the new president. With fall enrollment at its lowest since 1996, according to the 2011-2012 NIU data book, it’s pertinent for the new president to reverse the enrollment decrease.

What new positions would you introduce to NIU to ensure transparency and create checks and balances under your administration?

Why: It would be interesting to see how the candidates respond to potentially limiting the amount of power their office or other offices on campus have for the betterment of the campus.

While we understand we may never know the candidates’ answers to these questions, we hope our future president will show the campus and community how he or she would respond with his or her actions when appointed to the position. This campus needs a strong leader to line up behind, and the Editorial Board hopes that leader will be the next president.