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With Crawford on campus, here are 10 questions for the potential president

President Crawford
President Crawford

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Last Thursday, Miami University's Board of Trustees released the name of Gregory Crawford as the sole finalist to serve as Miami's next president and announced he would be visiting campus this week.

Crawford met with faculty Monday, Feb. 15 for a question and answer session. After open forums at Miami's Hamilton and Middletown campuses, Crawford will return to Oxford on Wednesday, Feb.17 to address students.

The event will allow students to ask Crawford questions about himself and his plans for the university.

While we would love to attend the forums and speak with Crawford in person, class schedules and time constraints will inhibit many of us from doing so. Therefore, as an editorial board, we have compiled a list of questions we would ask Crawford if we could. Our hope is that these important issues, among others, will be addressed in Wednesday's forum.

1. How will you understand and immerse yourself in the culture of Miami? Miami is different from schools you have worked at previously - it is public rather than private, and larger than both Notre Dame and Brown. How will you draw on your previous experiences to help you here at Miami, and what changes do you foresee yourself making to be an effective leader?

2. What will you do to engage with students? How will you make yourself accessible to them? Will you teach classes? Host events? President Hodge runs with students, plays broomball and has a strong Twitter presence - he is a generally likeable guy, but at the same time, you have an opportunity to become more of a champion of the students.

3. You are coming from a university with a highly regarded, if not legendary, athletic program. Miami doesn't have that. However, in the past few years, there has been a push - and subsequent backlash - about increased attention and funding for intercollegiate athletics here. Do you have any plans to expand or improve the athletics department here, or will you focus more on academics?

4. On a similar note, what type of university advancement is most important to you? Academics? Building up the faculty? President Hodge is known for the aesthetic improvements that took place during his time here, like the completion of Goggin Ice Center and the Armstrong Student Center, among dozens of building renovations. We've done a lot of cosmetic work in recent years, but what about internal development? What type of legacy do you want to leave?

5. Do you plan to increase transparency and have more of an inclusive, progressive leadership structure here? Miami has been criticized for its lack of transparency and strict "top-down" administration, especially concerning the way the presidential search was conducted. Do you agree with the way the search was run? Would you be willing to talk about the process by which you were selected? Laying it all out would be a powerful way to improve transparency and make a good impression on faculty and students, who may be skeptical of the way you came into this position.

6. What are your attitudes toward Greek life? Since Notre Dame does not have social fraternities or sororities, what will you do to better understand the Greek organizations and their role on Miami's campus? Problems like hazing allegations and dangerous levels of alcohol consumption plague Greek communities across the nation, and Miami is no exception. What will you do to combat these issues?

7. How will you prevent sexual assault on campus and discipline perpetrators of sexual assault? Colleges nationwide, including Notre Dame, have been scrutinized by the media for their lack of response to sexual assault reports and their insensitive treatment of victims. Furthermore, Miami's current system for handling these situations is flawed - there is little consistency in the judiciary proceedings from case to case, and there have been multiple lawsuits brought against the university in recent years. Do you have plans to reform the disciplinary process? What might you do differently?

8. How will you increase diversity of students, faculty and staff at Miami? We have a reputation for being a white, upper-middle class student body and a preppy, "country club" image. How will you encourage groups like racial and ethnic minorities or international students to attend Miami, and how will you support their academic and social success once they get here? How will you encourage students to reach out to and accept international students or other diverse individuals?

9. Miami has a reputation as a party school - what are your feelings about that? We have plenty of clubs, but they don't get the attention they deserve. When they put on events, students aren't always interested and attendance is lackluster. There doesn't seem to be much, aside from going Uptown and drinking, that students look forward to on the weekends. What will you do to encourage alternative activities and cut down on high-risk drinking? How would you like to redefine the culture here at Miami?

10. Coming from a background in STEM, how do you view the creative arts? Do you feel you will be biased toward subjects like physical sciences and engineering in terms of attention and funding? How will you educate yourself about the social sciences and humanities and be involved in those departments? You have been called a creative, "out-of-the-box" guy - can we expect innovative educational programs like an expansion of the food institute or the creation of more niche majors during your time here?

The event will take place at 9:45 a.m. in the Armstrong Student Center's Wilks Theatre.

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