I am a notoriously bad judge of character and I have only met Dr. Arthur Vailas, so keep that in mind. I mentioned earlier today that the State Board of Education announced in the Stephens Performing Arts Center that Dr. Arthur Vailas will be the new president of Idaho State University, but what I didn't elaborate on is the major communication issue Dr. Vailas will face as he takes this position.
Today was a tense day on the ISU campus before the announcement was made. Students had many deep-rooted concerns about who would serve as our next president. Having met Dr. Richard Bowen, our previous president, I can honestly say his are big shoes to fill. We know more and more now that he was not necessarily the greatest administrator, but I know that when I was a freshman he was more than willing to spend an hour or two one afternoon in November to discuss his memories of the Kennedy assassinations. Students want a president that is as personable, they need a president they can talk to. There was much talk on campus this morning about who it could be. We had all joked that if the Board sent down Dirk we were moving to Wyoming (where I understand they have some cowboys that certainly couldn't get married in Idaho today thanks to our disgraceful legislature) and we all wouldn't have complained too awful much if they had asked Mike Gallagher to stay. We were however quite anxious to hear the announcement.
First of all, maybe some of you are not aware of this, but Dr. Vailas was not our first choice. I say "we" as in the Associated Students of Idaho State University. ASISU endorsed Larry Lamanski, I personally found Dr. Lois Muir the best of the remaining four candidates and even personally contacted her after she visited ISU last month, and we all knew that the decision would be solely made by the State Board of Education.
I could express to you how ridiculous I find it that a group of Kempthorne appointments has the sole responsibility of making these decisions, but we'd be here awhile. Though they did listen to those who wished to voice their opinion on what ISU needs, they didn't let that sink into their decision. It SHOULD matter what the students of Idaho State University want. It SHOULD matter who they, the Associated Students of Idaho State University, endorse. It SHOULD matter that the president of this wonderful institution be a man we can trust, rely on, and communicate with.
Earlier I was reading the candidate biographies on the ISU homepage as we are in the thick of online elections and I noticed that many candidates spoke about transparency. What is transparency? Transparency is a whole level of honesty in the budget process and in our every day dealings on campus between the administration, the faculty, and the students that SHOULD be currently apparent. It is not. Idaho State students SHOULD be able to define transparency. Idaho State students deserve transparency.
If Dr. Vailas dodges questions the way he did when he visited us in the Bengal Cafe last month, how can we the student of Idaho State University ever expect transparency?