As Xavier ends a 47-year relationship with the longest-sitting university president Dr. Norman C. Francis, it begins a search process for a replacement. Will the president be catholic? Will the President be male or female? Will age matter? Will race matter? Many questions were presented at the student forum with the search committee on Nov.13, 2014. Students gathered together in Xavier’s Administration Auditorium to discuss concern pertaining to the presidential search.

Anthony Poché, a New Orleans native and second year pharmacy student, represents the student population on the panel. In an interview with The Xaveir Herald, Poché shares his thoughts about being selected to represent the student body in the presidential selection process; qualities he would like to see in the new president; reactions to the student-only “listening session” ; and explains why students should trust his as their representative.

How were you chosen for the search committee?
I just got a call from Michael Rue, asking me if I was interested in representing the students on the search committee. As far as the selection process, that’s a question for them.

What leadership positions have you held in the past?
I was Pharmacy Student Association President when I was an undergrad in Arts and Sciences. When I got into pharmacy school I was elected 2017 class president and am still in that position. Also, we just got finished with accreditation for College of Pharmacy and I was student representative of the assessment committee, which is responsible for making sure that the goals that were set by the college were being met and what we can do to improve.
How did you feel about the search committee student forum?
The forum was eye-opening and I was glad to see it. What I liked the most about it is that I was able to see how students really feel what the next president should do. They commented a lot on how things in the university are going right now and their feelings about that, which is real important for the next president to be able to respond to. Something that also struck me was that majors from other departments expressed how they felt left out and that was something good for me to hear to know how other students who aren’t in sciences want to be recognized on campus.
What comments shocked you at the student forum?
I wasn’t surprised too much about the students’ comments. The only thing that kind of took me back is that there was this one female student who was adamant about him being a male. That’s not something you see very often and definitely was not expecting.

Why should the students trust you as a student representative?
The student body should trust me because I do have a track record of representing students and I’ve always felt and heard that I’ve done a good job. I try to convey to the students that I’m very keen and focused on how the students feel and present that to the committee and make sure that the students are heard. It’s one thing to feel a certain way, express how you feel, and then feel like you’re not being heard. It’s extremely frustrating and that definitely came across in the student forum. I want students to know that my own personal interests are in no way a factor of how I’ll contribute to the search committee. When it comes to representing students, I take myself out of the equation and focus on representing them.

What do you see in the future of Xavier, after the new president is selected?
I think in the next five-10 years I definitely see the school having more unity. When I took notes at the forum I realized that the students just want to be together and they want a university that nurtures all majors and departments equally. So I feel the university will have more unity in the future
Poché encourages students that did not attend the forum to visit to complete survey to guarantee the student, faculty, staff, and community voice be heard. It is mandatory for the search committee to read these surveys during the process of searching for the next president.

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