On Key Issues, Students Kept in Dark by Taciturn Admins

    The employment process is an inherently confidential endeavor – but when 20,000-some livelihoods are on the line, publicity should take precedent. When it comes to administrative moves and shakes, the clandestine nature of this university (and the system of which it is a part) is a storied tradition. A flashback to last year’s Student-Run Television scandal highlights such hush-hush nature: University lawyers were unwilling to quickly provide e-mails requested legally through the California Public Records Act, releasing them only after extensive prodding.

    Consider this editorial as another prod. With the retirement of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Joseph W. Watson nearing, there is no word on a timeline on recruiting his replacement. Last year, students were offered forums to pursue dialogue with assistant vice chancellor for student life candidates. And Watson’s replacement will bear even more student-centric responsibility. Students deserve more transparency – a candidate list, a timeline or some inkling of information. His departure comes July 1, and there has been only clouds of rumors surrounding the recruitment. While students have seats on the search committee, the wholesale student body should be afforded the same transparency.

    Meanwhile, the departure of former Vice Chancellor of External Relations Keith Brant demonstrates the same problem. Why, just before the completion of an amazingly successful $1-billion campaign, would Brant leave? Why, considering the exodus of administrators since the onset of Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s tenure, wouldn’t we find something amiss? The only way to establish trust between students and administrators is to be openly honest, apparent and evident.

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