Column: Dear Board of Trustees

An open letter to the Board of Trustees regarding the start of the presidential search, politics, and student voices.


Savannah Peifer, Editor-in-Chief

Dear Board of Trustees, 

You don’t know me. In fact I’ve never met any of you, aside from the sitting student body president. But, I’ve spent three years at this university and have written about major issues our university is facing today. I’ve seen the complete lack of response for the serious concerns the students, faculty, and staff are reporting. More importantly, I’ve researched you. 

On Wednesday, I attended a meeting with various student leaders and representatives from AGB Search Firm, the D.C. based company you hired to find a president. The firm intended for us to ask questions and raise concerns regarding the search for a new president of FAU.  

We spoke about housing, communication, internet access, food, and more. After this meeting I had one thought: this search can make or break FAU. 

You probably don’t care, because nine of the 13 of you were appointed by a Republican governor, and some of you have donated to the Republican Party of Florida but, the students here don’t want a politician, we want a president. 

I sat in that meeting and listened to Roderick McDavis, managing principal of AGB Search Firm tell me and our other student leaders political concerns will undoubtedly have some influence on the search.

“Politics is the center of higher education in Florida,” he said. 

You have the option to change that. You can put your political agenda aside for the better of the students. Make FAU a beacon of leadership and put someone into power who will represent the entire student body, not a political party.

How can someone who is not open to understanding other political ideas represent such a diverse student body like FAU’s?

We’ve seen the students at University of Florida flood the campus with protests after their Board appointed Ben Sasse to be the next UF president. 

I urge you to learn from their mistakes. Realize that FAU is a diverse campus with thousands of students with different political ideologies. One of the main concerns in our meeting: student leaders want someone who is as apolitical as possible.

We don’t want someone’s political agenda to control our education. We have to blindly put our trust in you. This is your chance to strengthen it, or lose it entirely. 

Pierce Kennamer, student body president, is the only student voice on the Board. 

Pierce, it is your job to hold them accountable and represent us. The student body has put their trust in you. Don’t break it.

Kimberly Dunn, you’re on the Board because of your position as Faculty Senate president. The faculty has put their trust in you. I hope you represent them.  

State lawmakers implemented a bill last year allowing universities to keep the names of candidates confidential; however, you had – and still have – the option to share them and be open with the student body.

You have chosen to be silent. You chose the path of least transparency. If the search remains confidential, the students, faculty, and staff will not know our next president until it is too late to share our opinions. 

The search firm representative explained that names are not shared because there may be applicants who work for other universities and will return to their jobs if they are not chosen. I believe this is an excuse for you to avoid the inevitable criticism students, faculty, and staff would share if we knew the names. 

How are our voices being heard when we aren’t even able to speak to the people you’re bringing to lead us? That alone makes us trust you less. 

You need to put your students, faculty, and staff first and pick a president, not a politician. 


A student begging you to actually hear us.

Savannah Peifer is the editor-in-chief for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories DM her on instagram @ginger.savvy or email her at [email protected].