SGA president is confident in presidential search process

A+person+is+standing+behind+a+podium%2C+but+their+image+is+removed+and+a+question+mark+is+in+the+blank+space.

Jackie Galli and Ava Acharya

Photo illustration featuring a mystery person standing behind a podium, similar to previous University President Tanya Tetlow. Currently, Loyola is searching for a new president, but their candidates have not been disclosed yet.

Kloe Witt, Staff Writer

Loyola’s search for a new university president is still underway, and despite only one in-person meeting so far, Student Government Association President, Stephanie Oblena, said she is confident in the presidential search committee.

The search began in February of 2022, when former Loyola President Tania Tetlow resigned to become president of Fordham University in New York. In her absence, former Loyola Vice President for Mission and Identity, the Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., stepped in as the interim university president.

Oblena, an environmental studies junior, said that the search committee asked her to step in as a representative for the student body during the search process.

“It was comforting for me to see how receptive and eager the other committee members were to hear my input,” Oblena said.

Rachel Hoorman, Loyola’s vice president of marketing and communications, said that her role in the search is to keep the Loyola community informed over the process, but that the process as a whole is confidential, so updates on potential candidates will be limited.

Hoorman said that the school is looking for someone “who will ensure that Loyola University New Orleans realizes an incredibly bright future.”

The most recent update came from an email sent to all staff and students on Nov. 9, which said that the search committee’s website was up and running.

“The successful candidate will build on the university’s recent progress, execute our bold plans for the future, and bring their own big ideas to move us even further forward,” Hoorman said.

Oblena said that she believes in the committee’s process because by taking their time, they would be able to compare candidates and ensure they make the right choice.

“It gives the search committee the opportunity to consider how candidates compare to the profile and compare strengths and weaknesses,” Oblena said.

Oblena added that, as a student, she brings a new perspective to the search committee on what qualities she feels the student body will appreciate in the new president.

“I think it’s important that a president knows how to interact with students and communicate effectively,” Oblena said. “The future president should be empathetic and patient but also financially literate.”

While some students participated in the stakeholders’ meetings in early September, Oblena said she will be the only student actively taking part in the meetings and interviews moving forward. She emphasized that the ability to form a relationship with all students is one of the most important qualities in a new leader of the university.

“I think as a student it’s super easy to let the title university president itself create distance, but if there’s no relationship with the students, you can’t exactly expect us to have trust
or feel safe,” Oblena said. “Loyola isn’t like any other Louisiana school, or even Jesuit institution, and I think it’s absolutely crucial that this individual understands we’re a little bit peculiar, widely diverse, and all experiencing these obstacles together.”