UMD Offers Input in Search for New University of Minnesota President

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: September 20, 2018 07:10 PM

All five University of Minnesota campuses are playing a big role in choosing the next president for the university system.

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The Presidential Search Advisory Committee hosted a listening session in the Kirby Student Center at UMD Thursday to get input from the Duluth campus.

The committee separated the event into several sessions exclusive to staff, students, faculty, community members, and alumni.

"I think the next president of the University of Minnesota system should really value diversity, but also be outspoken about this value of diversity and inclusivity,” Ruth Kristensen Cabrera, a UMD student, said.

The advisory committee listened attentively to students who spoke out on a variety of topics like offering more programs and resources to international students, the remodeling of the multicultural center, sexual assault on campus, the credit transfer system, air quality in classrooms, residential housing conditions, and more.

"We’re really happy to be a part of this process, I think it's imperative that we are. The university is about students, we make up the majority of the university,” Mike Kenyanya, the UMD student body president, said.

Students were asked what traits they want the next president to have. Passion, problem solving, good communication skills, and strong work ethic were mentioned.

"Having inclusivity and tolerance and respect for all people, no matter their race or sexuality throughout campus,” Cabrera said.

"Everywhere we go, folks are saying that we need a president who can really support and advertise and defend higher education,” Abdul M. Omari, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee chair, said.

Students also mentioned openness and leadership as key qualities. A president that can relate more to students and be more involved in all the university campuses.

"Really looking for the University of Minnesota system to really start feeling like a system, rather than 5 separate campuses," Kenyanya said.

In addition to hearing input from the listening sessions, the committee is also encouraging people to fill out online questionnaires at:

The committee is hosting sessions at the other campuses in Morris, Crookston, Twin Cities, and Rochester.

The committee is looking to have a final decision by December 31.

Current University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler is ending his eighth year as president next year.


Alejandra Palacios

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