Today: Jul 17, 2024

Voting begins for student trustee

The new student representative will serve on the Board of Trustees pictured above.
Jessica Giannone, General Assignment Reporter:
Southern is a university that needs to be heard, as candidates for the student Board of Trustees position for the Connecticut State University System expressed. Elections for the student representative position are being held April 18-25 through the Collegiate Link website.
Students David Langer and Benjamin McNamee are in the running.
A lot of students don’t know about the trustee position, which is the highest elected student position at a university, according to current student trustee, Andrew Chu.
“The decisions of the board affect them more than they realize,” said McNamee, president
of the Student Government Association, as he noted it is unfortunate students don’t know about the board because it directly impacts student life.
The BOT consists of 14 representatives who are chosen by the current governor at the time, and four student representatives who are selected by their student body. One student is elected from each of the four universities of the state system to serve two-year
terms.
Among the many actions of the board, which governs the four state universities, according to Chu, are viewing university policies, working on tuition, fees and accreditation, and approving programs and budget requests. The board determines the mission, role
and scope for the universities.
The student trustee position, as Chu described it, is a way to vocalize the opinions and ideas of how the Southern community feels.
Students elected as trustees partake in the duties of the board, including appointing
the CSU Chancellor.
“I stood up for the university,” said Chu. “I felt like I was doing my duties of the position. It made me stronger.”
To fill the student trustee position, an individual has to be a matriculated fulltime undergraduate or full-time or parttime graduate who has completed at least one semester in
residence at a CSUS institution, according to Connecticut General Statutes. The student should have completed at least 45 semester hours towards a bachelor’s degree.
Langer, president of the Class of 2013 and Beta Mu Sigma Fraternity, said the the role of student trustee is multidimensional.
He said if he were elected, he would work with all of his colleagues to address student life and financial issues, as well as policy making.
“It’s finding ways to eliminate money that’s being spent improperly and finding a good place for it,” said Langer, referring to how he would coordinate financial policies in the state system.
McNamee said his primary focus would be to insure Southern would be heard.
He said with the concern that the CSUS might be converted into a combined governance with other institutions, rather than just the governance of the four state universities alone, he wants to make sure the student voice would not be lost in that transition.
“If [the student voice] gets lost, [the board] loses what it means,” said McNamee.
He said as long as the board does “exist” he wants to maintain a constant flow of information between the board and the university.
“I would have to start thinking about things at the system level,” said McNamee, “but with a Southern perspective.”
Langer said so much of the actions the board is trying to partake in are vital for what is happening at Southern, so he wants to make an impact by spreading the word.
Langer also expressed his concern and initiative to make sure he gets Southern’s point across 100 percent.
“I may not be able to change everything,” said Langer, “but at least I can explain what’s going on.”
Chu said his advice for student trustees would be to make sure personal biases don’t get in the way of the messages they are presenting to the university. He said students should always go in with the mentality that they are speaking on behalf of other people and put the university first.
“Students don’t necessarily understand how hard it is to make these decisions on behalf of thousands and thousands of students,” said Chu.
He said before raising an issue or concern, students in the trustee position have to understand all parts of it and consider all sides of the issue; look at “the past, the present, and the future.”
“Honestly,” said Langer, “you don’t have to be known as the biggest or best person on campus. If you want to make a change, one person is all you need, and it grows.”
Langer said anything is possible for a person if he or she has “the drive.”
McNamee said his message for everyone is to just get involved.
“There’s something at Southern for all of them,” said McNamee.

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