ITHACA, NY – Ithaca College student body president Dominick Recckio was one of the many who spearheaded efforts to see IC President Tom Rochon removed. Now that that battle is essentially won, he described the feeling as “bittersweet.”
The “sweet” part is pretty obvious – the goal set forth by the Student Government, the People of Color at IC activist group, and numerous faculty, staff and alumni is accomplished. Rochon will resign effective July 2017.
“It allows Ithaca College students, faculty, staff and alumni to look forward. We can focus on the future,” Recckio said. “Not just 20/20 [one of the college’s forward-facing initiatives], but beyond, we’re able to look for a president that better reflects the values of this community.”
The bitter part, however, may ultimately be a little more prominent for Recckio.
Recckio expressed frustration at the timeline of Rochon’s resignation. It will be another year and a half before he is actually gone, meaning he’ll have held the position for ten years. Recckio said he had wondered if Rochon’s retirement date may be the same time that his contract expires anyway. The Ithaca Voice is investigating this issue.
Recckio said that in the meantime, Rochon’s “lame duck” position should allow students, faculty and staff to have more authority in decision making, providing a stronger sense of shared governance. He hoped that upper-level administrators would put their support behind these efforts, and ensure that decisions are made by the community, rather than one man or small group.
He also noted that the those 18 months will provide the upper administration with some some level of stability, as opposed to the “focused chaos” of finding an interim president and searching for a new replacement immediately.
Still, Recckio says, he thinks that finding an interim president would’ve been the better choice, and said that many students and faculty he’d spoken with shared the sentiment.
Recckio had one last gripe to share, saying, “I am disappointed in so much of the conversation coming from Rochon and the Board being positive, because the community is having a negative experience. To focus on the positive doesn’t resonate well with me, and I don’t think it resonates well with much of the faculty, either.”
Soon after the no confidence votes were set in motion, the student government at IC set in motion plans to help find a new President. They set up a series of “values sessions,” where they collected thoughts from students across campus to discover what they felt would be the main values held by the next IC college president.
The central tenet, Recckio said, is that the president should be a “servant leader.” “The narrative around campus has been that administrators and staff serve at the will of president. The narrative must change to where the president is serving at the will of the community.”
He said the ideal president would be focused on integrity, shared governance, a servant leadership, and thoughtful, proactive and honest communication.
Below you can find a copy of the Values Sessions report:
[do_widget id= text-61]