“Our view” is prepared by the Executive board and should be considered the institutional voice of The Record
Megan Flynn, Editor-in-Chief – [email protected]
Hope Mueller, Managing Editor – [email protected]
Ellen Bartyzal, Managing Editor – [email protected]
Brendan Klein, Opinion/Editorial Editor – [email protected]
It’s the concept at the very heart of our government: representation.
As Americans, we are accustomed to a system in which the governed have representation in their government. We are generally wary of other people making decisions for us without the power to hold those people accountable. This concept of representation is being threatened in the decision of the CSB and SJU Boards of Trustees decision to call a vote on whether to remove the student and faculty representatives from their boards.
While we understand that there are plenty of other ways in which students are represented on campus, such as through the CSB and SJU Senates, the Board of Trustees is an important body that has great influence over our schools. Students and faculty inevitably have an interest in what the Boards do because decisions they make directly impact students and faculty.
The Record’s news article this week referenced Tom Ingram, an outside consultant the boards hired from the association of governing boards of universities and colleges. He says that it could be a conflict of interest for students and faculty to vote on issues that would affect them. He says that this is not a best practice for governance.
In response to the argument that students and faculty are confronted with conflicts of interest, this is a misleading statement. The student trustee abstains from most, if not all votes, due to their conflicts of interest. So there really is no point to take away their voting powers if they can for all intents and purposes not vote already.
Additionally, many Trustees have children or grandchildren that go to CSB/SJU. Would it not be a conflict of interest for them to vote on a tuition increase if it directly affects them? So why are students the targets if conflict of interest is present in Trustees as well? This argument does not hold true when turned back to the Trustees.
We also understand that many on the boards are former Bennies and Johnnies who are familiar with the core values of the schools and surely want to see them flourish. However, students and faculty know that the culture on campus changes little by little from year to year. This is inevitable.
We also understand that not every decision can be made in accordance with the wishes of students and faculty. Budgets have to be changed, curriculums altered and policies adjusted and sometimes students and faculty won’t agree with the final decision. However, not allowing student and faculty representatives to effectively speak shuts down debate. We might not win the vote, but we deserve the right to cast one.