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What students need in a new president

Palomar President Joi Lin Blake’s resignation may come with a high price tag, but if that is the price we must pay for a better leader, then so be it.

As students, we are calling for board trustees to take filling the available position seriously while also considering what students look for in a campus superintendent/president.

We want someone who listens and takes action. For too long our administrative leaders brushed our concerns aside with non-responses or a dismissive “I’ll look into that” without follow-through.

Students need a leader who will listen to the community, and respond in a way that will benefit the community.

A president who will communicate and provide platforms for community members to share their concerns isn’t much to ask for, because we feel like this is something that is needed to push things into a better direction and bridge the gap between executive faculty and the student body.

For instance, Acting Superintendent/President Jack Kahn offered a prime example of how one can provide a platform for community members to have discussions about campus issues.

When important questions were asked at the Feb. 11 Governing Board meeting,

Kahn was quick to respond with straightforward answers, and he would admit if he was unsure about a question that was being asked.

It was like a breath of fresh air to witness open discussions at the board meeting, a nice change of pace since the days of non-responsiveness and empty promises.

We want someone who is transparent. Transparency was a word tossed around so frequently during Blake’s presidency that it stopped sounding like a real word.

Being transparent means that one must be open to public scrutiny. Prior to Blake’s investigation, our staff faced many issues trying to get in contact with Blake for any sort of comment or simply an interview, yet we were not answered at all or we had to weave our way through other people.

It seems that we weren’t the only group of people that struggled to get into contact with Blake, because her transparency was a commonly talked about issue during Governing Board meetings.

We want someone who is present. Students often don’t know who their college president is, which can mean that they wouldn’t know who to speak to regarding issues on campus.

Recently, Kahn broke this trend.

When students held a protest against the Career Center’s invitation of border patrol for a hiring event, Kahn was present in solidarity with the student protestors.

This is what we hope for in a leader, someone who is present and will stand alongside students when faced with an opportunity to show support.

We want someone who is passionate about Palomar, its students, and its employees. We want someone who has worked well with Palomar community members, someone who students and faculty admire. Someone who is dedicated will work to fulfill Palomar’s ‘Better Together’ utopia.

Although we cannot surely say what will happen after Blake’s payout and the termination of her contract, we know what we are looking for in a leader.

If Kahn does not apply to become the full time President of the college, we hope that the voices of students and other faculty members are present and the choices made to continue the leadership of the college are made with the best intentions.

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