APR. 13, 2018 3 min read

More on the Presidential Search, and Putting the Festival Back in Reed Arts Week

Senate failed to reach quorum this week, with a large number of senators attending a distinguished economics lecture. No appointments or budget approvals were therefore made.

Vice-President Natasha Baas-Thomas, presiding over the meeting, instead talked of Senate’s upcoming forum on the presidential search, to be held this Friday, April 13. Staff and faculty involved in the previous search committee will give a presentation on the process involved in hiring John Kroger and will answer questions about the process at this time.

Baas-Thomas also clarified the role Senate and the student body will play in the search, extrapolating from the previous presidential search. Early in the process, Senate will be able to give broad input to the Trustees, especially regarding Senate’s expectations on priorities. As the committee narrows down its choice of candidates, though, the search will become more confidential, and Senate’s involvement will be limited to the Student Body President’s participation in candidate interviews. Once a shortlist of candidates is selected, candidates will then give interviews with various groups and constituencies on campus, opening up the process once again.

Finally, Stephanie Snyder, curator for the Cooley Gallery, discussed proposals that have been circulating among faculty and staff to offer future presidents a form of tenure. This is a practice Reed has not historically done, but is standard at other educational institutions; as a result, previous search committees have been at a disadvantage. Bruce Smith, in response, noted that the issue of presidential tenure will indeed be raised at an upcoming faculty meeting.

Stephanie Snyder was also present to speak about her changes to Reed Arts Week (RAW), speaking on its past as a Reed alumna, and outlining her hopes for RAW’s future. RAW has traditionally been the responsibility of the Office for Student Engagement, who passed on the responsibility to her out of a lack of capacity. She hopes her professional involvement would not

Snyder’s changes to RAW, she noted, have come out of discussions with faculty and others involved with RAW in the past. RAW was previously organized by two student “curators,” and this resulted in a bias toward the visual arts. Now, Snyder hopes a larger team of three to five artistic directors will work along a broader range of artistic fields, potentially including creative writing, theatre, and other performing arts. Snyder also outlined other changes made to increase the diversity of voices represented at RAW: increasing the involvement of queer and minority voices, and leveling past distinctions between professional and student artists.

RAW will also be moved to October, a change Snyder cited many reasons for. For one, faculty at Reed have expressed interest in participating in RAW, but their spring semester workload previously prevented them from doing so. More importantly, though, Snyder hopes that RAW’s move to the fall, and to sunnier days, will restore a “festival” environment to RAW that she remembers from her time at Reed but has since been lost. She told stories of monster truck rallies on the Great Lawn, and of Muses laying down trails of gunpowder and “owls” following with lit matches.