Approximately 53 percent of students disagree that President Wilson stepping down is a good decision, a recent anonymous survey of 76 participants done by The Buchtelite showed.
On March 22, The University of Akron board of trustees chair, Roland Bauer, announced that President Wilson will rejoin the faculty of UA’s School of Law on July 31 and step down as president. Since then, students have had relatively negative feelings about Wilson’s decision.
Gavin DeMali, a Sophomore Geology student, said he feels that it presents a bad image when the president of a university implements new initiatives and then leaves shortly after introducing them. One initiative Wilson implemented earlier this semester was Five-Star Fridays, which will shorten the school week for most students to four days. Wilson will step down before the initiative begins.
DeMali’s feelings may be shared among his classmates as over half of the students surveyed feel negatively about Wilson stepping down. Among the other students, only about 14 percent of survey participants believe that the president stepping down is a good decision and about 33 percent neither agree nor disagree that it is a good decision.
DeMali said that although Wilson leaving may present a bad image, there may have been a lot of internal politics at play when it came to the president’s decision.
Students feel negatively about the decision but they seem to be understanding and overall enjoyed having Wilson as the President of UA.
The survey showed that approximately 70 percent of students agreed that they felt positively about Wilson’s actions at the University during his presidency and about 67 percent of students liked the programs that have been implemented by President Wilson.
Destiny Gilbert, a freshman, said that Wilson is a good president and she likes how he interacts with students.
For the future of UA, students have mixed feelings about the next president. When asked if they felt confident that the University will find a good replacement once Wilson steps down, about 30 percent of students agreed that they felt confident, about 29 percent disagreed, and about 41 percent said they neither agree nor disagree.
Ryan Fink, a post-baccalaureate student, said he wants the University to be more cautious when selecting its next president.
Students may feel this way because in the four years since Luis Proenza stepped down, the University will have been under the guidance of two different presidents and will be looking for a third.
Despite students’ anxieties, Chair Bauer said in a press release Thursday that the board is confident they will attract a high-quality pool of applicants for the position because they believe that the University is an exceptionally important higher education institution.
Bauer said that the board of trustees will soon begin the process of conducting a national search for the next permanent president of the University. They are also establishing a Presidential Advisory and Screening Committee that will seek to meet with the leadership of various constituency groups on April 12, he said in the press release.
The Buchtelite was not able to contact President Wilson for further comments as he was out of the country at the time of publication.
The full Buchtelite report can be found here.