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The Blue & Gray Press | April 28, 2017

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Staff Ed: Another old white president not necessarily a bad thing

Staff Ed: Another old white president not necessarily a bad thing

By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF

As President Hurley finishes out this semester as the University of Mary Washington’s ninth president, the student body opens its arms to its newest president, Dr. Troy Paino. But is Paino really “new” for UMW? Out of the nine presidents UMW has had over the past century, one has been a female and the rest have been older white men.

Living in a generation ready for change and diversity, is Paino really the best option for UMW’s next president? The answer is yes.

Regardless of Paino’s skin color, age or sex, he brings the character, enthusiasm and commitment that UMW needs.

Yes, diversity is important and our school clearly is not the most diverse university in America, an issue that needs to be addressed and work toward fixing, but in this case, these common appearance qualities of UMW presidents is irrelevant.

When picking the president of a university, looks should not matter. What should matter are their credentials, character and their plans to better our university.

As a liberal arts institution, we want to be as progressive as possible. Someone who is, for example, a person of color, young and a woman would definitely be progressive, but an image is less essential than what that person brings to our university.

Clearly Paino is a respected and loved president, which can be seen from all the praise he has received from Truman State University, the university he currently presides over, and a good president trumps the image of progression.

Now, that does not go to say that our university does not need progress. We need progress and we need it now. At this time, there is no way to tell how Paino will change our university for the better and move it towards being more diverse, but his appearance does not dictate how he shall act as president.

As students wanting to better our school and create a more inclusive and harmonious environment, we should work with Paino right off the bat to create a more diverse institute.

Paino has made it abundantly clear that he does this job for the students. He wants to work with us, not against us. So as a student body we should all work together, students and faculty, to make UMW an institution where diversity encompasses every aspect of our campus, whether that be in the classroom or on the field.

A new president is a new chapter for the students of UMW. Anything can change, and what we do with these new opportunities is up to us as a student body, not Paino or any other faculty member. We are UMW, without us UMW would cease to exist. It is our right and responsibility to make change happen if we want it to happen.

Next year will be a test for us as a student body, what we do with a new president is up to us. We at The Blue & Gray Press welcome President Paino with open arms and an open mind to what we can achieve as a university.

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