UC Leaders Meet with Presidential Search Committee Member

UC Meeting 10/23
Undergraduate Council President Yasmin Z. Sachee '18 and Vice-President Cameron K. Khansarinia '18 lead the Council's general meeting on Oct. 23.
The president and vice president of the Undergraduate Council discussed the search for Harvard’s next president with Shirley M. Tilghman, a member of the presidential search committee, on Oct. 25.

In an interview Monday, UC Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia ’18 said Tilghman—Princeton's former president and a member of the Harvard Corporation—updated both himself and UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 on the search committee's progress. The UC has also engaged with the search's Student Advisory Committee, meeting with three of its members during Sunday night’s general meeting.

Echoing other members of the search committee—a 15-member body composed of Corporation members and Overseers—Tilghman told UC leaders that the search for University President Drew G. Faust's replacement was still in an information-gathering phase, according to Khansarinia.

“They've been meeting across the country with lots of different stakeholders,” he said. “They have a lot of great people that they’re considering and they've just been meeting and getting suggestions from very many people.”

Khansarinia said the two shared names of candidates they’d like to be considered with Tilghman, though he declined to comment on the particular names. The pair also spoke about the characteristics they hope to see in Harvard’s next president.

“We said that we wanted the next president to continue President Faust’s amazing kind of reckoning with Harvard’s history and focus on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the way that she has handled issues of, for example, slavery or undocumented students or minority students,” he said. “We hope that the next president will kind of pick up that torch and carry it forward.”

Khansarinia also said that he and Sachee emphasized the need to maintain Harvard’s leading status among universities.

“We hope that the next president will continue to keep Harvard as number one. Obviously there are other peer institutions that are increasingly getting better, but the president's job is to keep Harvard the best universtiy it can be,” he said.

Khansarinia said he and Sachee identified key “challenges” Harvard could face in the coming years, including issues surrounding free speech on college campuses, the Allston campus expansion, and the “One Harvard” initiative.

Days after the meeting with Tilghman, the UC at large met with the three undergraduate members of the student advisory committee—Federico Roitman ’18, Nathaniel Vincent ’20, and Nina Srivastava ’18.

Numerous members said they wanted Harvard’s next president to value diversity.

“An opportunity for the next president going forward will be to really carry the torch of making institutions of higher learning across America inclusive places,” Mather House representative Eduardo A. Gonzalez ’18 said.

Leverett House representative Salma Abdelrahman '20 said she hopes the next president will build a multicultural center on campus, a long-standing priority for some students. Rules Committee Chair Evan M. Bonsall ’19 said he hopes the next president will emphasize the need for public service across the University.

—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at andrew.zucker@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewJZucker.

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