Students Champion McKenna, Oppose Trustees
SUFFOLK – Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna confirmed in an email sent to faculty that the University Board of Trustees has indicated to her that they plan to make a decision about her presidency in upcoming board meeting on Friday, February 12.
This comes after a Boston Globe story published Thursday reported that the “board is in negotiations with former state attorney general Martha Coakley to take over as president,” citing a person close to the university and a secondary source briefed on the situation.
“What I want you to know is that I’m committed to Suffolk University,” McKenna said in her email. “I believe deeply in its mission, in its people, who care so much for this institution, and most of all, in its students. I don’t intend to resign.”
As rumors swirled that the university was seeking a new president, students expressed outrage on Friday afternoon. Posters were hung around main office buildings, and the hashtag #SUstandswithMcKenna started trending on Twitter in the local area.
“I am heartbroken because she has been nothing but wonderful,” said Victoria Ireton, a Government and Philosophy major. “She is the first President that listens to all parties and makes decisions that are in the best interest of the university.”
“If the board of trustees fires her, then it will not only ruin their relationships with the Suffolk community, but it will also cause instability in the institution,” Ireton added.
Reports in the Boston Globe state that the Student Government Association is planning to take a vote of no confidence in trustees chairman Andrew Meyer next Thursday, citing SGA president Colin Loiselle. The organization will demand Meyer step down from the position of chairman or from the board entirely, said the Globe.
Students are citing McKenna’s ability to connect with students and her appreciation for diversity and the arts as reasons to keep her as the head of the university.
“She’s more open. She has experience. She makes tough choices, but only when it’s in the benefit of the school and the students,” said Colin Loiselle, president of the Student Government Association. “That sentiment is lost amongst the board.”
Other students turned to Facebook to rally the support of their peers in favor of the president, sharing their thoughts on group class pages. Suffolk student Levi Smith described McKenna as “the most student-centric and passionate president the school has probably ever had.”
“She has a vision for Suffolk and throughout her seven months here she has done tireless work to better the school and of course, the students,” wrote Levi on the Class of 2018 Facebook page, “Throughout anything that is said, President McKenna needs our support.”
“We have the power to make sure the board is accountable to the students and I think we need to start using that power,” commented sophomore Clara Sandrin, “We need to demand transparency with what is going on within our school.”
A voicemail seeking comment to the university spokesperson was left unreturned as of this publication date.
Stay tuned to the Suffolk Voice for more information as this story develops.