This past Monday, the final candidate for the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Development position, Kara Kolomitz, visited the campus and attended an open forum.
The forum was intended to be a chance for FSU students, faculty and administrators to get to know Kolomitz, her background and her policies. While very few students attended any of the forums, faculty and administrators attended the forums of both previous candidates Adrian Haugabrook and VP interim Lorretta Holloway and asked well formulated questions.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Kolomitz’s forum.
The faculty and administrators who did attend the forum were painfully disinterested in this candidate.
The same questions were asked multiple times in different ways, suggesting the audience was indifferent to her answers. The questions that were asked seemed thought up on the spot, unlike the questions at Haugabrook and Holloway’s forums, which were obviously well-thought out. Several long silences were endured.
Marc Cote, dean of arts and humanities, and Dave Stender, associate director of residence life and student conduct, asked Kolomitz twice about her plans for recruitment.
She was asked more than once about the new program Starfish, which FSU is planning to implement, and how effective it has been at Regis College. The two former candidates were not asked about Starfish. How this program relates to her ability to be an effective leader and integrate smoothly into our community is a mystery.
After probing from Rita Colucci, chief of staff and general counsel, for more questions, Dean of STEM Margaret Carroll said, “I’ll ask my magic wand question,” as if she were doing Kolomitz a favor by ending the silence and asking a question she had asked the two former candidates.
Kolomitz herself remarked more than once what a “quiet crowd” they were. She even made jokes to try to alleviate the awkward tension in the room and stimulate the audience. Colucci had to prompt the audience three separate times for questions.
It seems the audience perceived Kolomitz’s candidacy as a mere formality, and the real competition is between Haugabrook and Holloway.
However, formality or not, Kolomitz deserves respect. Frankly, the faculty and administrators’ apathy toward her was embarrassing, unprofessional and unethical.
This reflects on our University as whole. After all, the administration and faculty are the ones who run this school. Is this how we want to be remembered by Kolomitz – as unwelcoming and disrespectful?
Kolomitz, whether she is hired or not, is a leader in the higher education community of Massachusetts. She is part of the administration of Regis College. Undoubtedly, she is mingling with other fellow educational leaders and sharing experiences with them at regional events and professional conferences. Is this the reputation we want to have in our Greater Boston community?
The FSU community, especially the faculty and administration, should know how to treat a guest on our campus. She deserved well-thought out questions, enthusiasm and 45 minutes of our undivided attention. If members of the community wish to have some sway in the decision of the new VP, they should be able to exhibit these basic signs of respect.