LMC students weigh in on their thoughts of all of the presidential news

Janna Herchenroder '14, Staff Writer

Shock. A word that sums up the state Le Moyne is in right now.

There are a lot of mixed feelings among the student body with regard to Dr. Fred Pestello leaving and Dr. Linda LeMura taking his place. When asked, many students were unwilling to have their opinions published, but among those who were, the general consensus was that the change is sudden and unexpected.

“I think the college had to make a quick decision, and while I wish there was more time to deliberate and possibly choose another Jesuit as president, I understand why they chose LeMura,” Claire Kennedy, a senior said.

In the email to students and staff, Sharon Kinsman Salmon ’78, the chair of the college’s Board of Trustees, outlined the board’s reasons for moving so quickly. Pestello has recently been offered and accepted the position of  St. Louis University’s 33rd president, while Le Moyne’s provost, Dr. Linda LeMura, was offered a job as the president of La Salle University, located in Philadelphia. Salmon explained that considering these circumstances and the time frame, the Board of Trustees was forced to make a hastier decision within a few short weeks rather than the usual full year.

“It’s just politics, trying to keep the integrity of the existing order intact,” said junior Jacob Steckel. “Her appointment was something of a ‘hail Mary. I think from Le Moyne’s view, at the time, it must have seemed like it was all starting to unravel.”

While many have expressed confusion, others are concerned about the direction Le Moyne will be heading towards under the new president.

“Dr. LeMura has insisted that inflating the number of adjuncts is a trend across all higher institutions, but I think it’s just an easy way out,” junior Kailey McDonald said. “There are lots of rumors about cutbacks, especially in relation to the liberal arts and humanities. With the social sciences and humanities being the core of our academic program, we should be expanding on it. Our faculty, our teachers… those are the people the students care about. They are the reason students come to Le Moyne. I hope Dr. LeMura takes this into account.”

Other students, like senior Mary Smith, feel that as long as “she’s devoted to the school and to the welfare of the school, then that’s really what should matter.”

Along with being another lay president at Le Moyne, LeMura will also be Le Moyne’s first female president, a topic that intrigued many students.

“Although I feel that our school is taking steps of change with the selection of Dr. Le Mura, I feel that as a Jesuit institution, leadership from the Jesuits should always be valued,” sophomore Emily Latanyshyn said. “The Jesuit tradition is what makes Le Moyne special among many other small, private catholic colleges. And the lack of Jesuit identity in these positions seems to drift from the college’s original intent.”

Stephanie Pease, in response to Emily Latanyshyn’s comment stated, “I don’t think it’s right to judge over the fact that she isn’t a Jesuit, or that she is also a woman. It’s like saying Barack Obama couldn’t become President because he’s black, or Hillary Clinton couldn’t because she’s a female. Change isn’t always easy, but sometimes people should accept big changes in order to achieve the higher opportunity for success that they want.”

Bridget Saunders expressed great enthusiasm over having a female president. “I think having a female president puts all of Le Moyne’s principles into play. I think Le Moyne will continue to progress and stay dedicated to its students and the community.”

While some students expressed nervousness and excitement about the whole presidential situation, one student wanted to make sure the soon-to-be president is really the right choice. Hannah Wilder was curious about Dr. LeMura and decided to research some of her past contributions.

“She promotes a global education, which, if well executed, can certainly put Le Moyne students at an advantage in today’s business environment,” Wilder said. “I hope that she will remain a fair facilitator of ideas as she accepts her new position.”

The Board of Trustees offered the position to LeMura because they feel she is knowledgeable of the school and possesses the leadership skills that will most benefit the college.

“I’m concerned about where Dr. LeMura plans on taking Le Moyne,” McDonald added. “I’m also worried about the cavalier way we treat our adjuncts and staff. When the backbone of the Le Moyne community, the people we make do our dirty work, so to speak, have to worry each day whether or not they will have a job tomorrow… that isn’t a very “OneLeMoyne” attitude to me. I’m not sure how much I like the Le Moyne I’ve watched this school become in my three years here. Dr. LeMura will inherit a number of problems, but now she has the chance to fix them. She has a great opportunity to turn things around for the better.”