By Tom Sibley – [email protected]

I hope the Boards of the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University will not act hastily to remove the student and faculty trustees from the Boards.  I can attest to the value of having a direct and extended connection between Board members and faculty. 

Without such direct connection, all of the Boards’ information is filtered through the administration.  I was the faculty Regent on the St. John’s University Board from 1999 to 2001, when I was Vice Chair and the Chair of the joint faculty.  Because I had multiple interactions with Board members, when it was crucial for me to contact the appropriate Board committee chairperson, I had that person’s trust.  On one
occasion if I hadn’t been able to intervene, the College and University might well have faced a lawsuit.

I know my colleagues who have been Board members have all taken the duty
seriously to act in the best interest of the educational mission of these institutions.  And, in turn, we have each gained important perspective about the difficulties facing the schools. Thus it has enabled us to explain issues to our colleagues and so reach agreements between administration and faculty. I’m sure that the student trustees can attest to the benefits they experienced as well.

Students are more than customers; faculty are more than employees; and education is more than a business.  To have a chance of accomplishing our mission, we need to bolster communication, not limit it.

This is the opinion of Tom Sibley, CSB/SJU mathematics professor