Students Can Suggest Topics for Meetings With Trustees

Students will meet with trustees quarterly in new discussion series.

By Feng Ye

Through October 3, students can suggest topics for a series of conversations between student representatives and members of the Board of Trustees.

Starting this year, Student Government (SG), Campus and Student Life, and the University’s Board of Trustees are collaborating on an initiative called the Student Perspectives Series (SPS). The series will provide undergraduate students and graduate students with an opportunity to meet with three or four trustees to discuss campus issues. The SPS is currently collecting topic proposals from undergraduate students through an online application. The deadline to submit a proposal is Monday.

Up until last year, the undergraduate and graduate liaisons sat in on the Board of Trustees meetings. From this year on, there will be no student representative present at these meetings.  

“…the change removes the only students that had access to these decision making spaces. I think it will be a topic of continued discussion with administration as to how students can play a role in institutional governance,” current Undergraduate Liaison to the Board of Trustees Kenzo Esquivel said.

One trustee per quarter will continue to meet with students at luncheon meetings, which are typically attended by 25 to 30 students. 

The SPS will provide a more intimate space for discussion. The meetings between students and the Board will also take place once every quarter. The fall quarter session will be exclusively open to undergraduates, the winter session only to graduates, and the spring session to both. Each meeting will last for one hour and consist of one to two topics. The total number of students attending will depend on the topic chosen and how many students proposed the topic. Three or four trustees will attend each SPS meeting. One of the trustees, Thomas Cole, will be present throughout the year and is responsible for inviting other trustees. 

SG will be responsible for selecting the topics discussed at each meeting. According to Esquivel, the selected topics should be within the purview of the Board and immediately relevant to student life. 

After each meeting, a report will be generated internally and made accessible to the public. The reports are expected to be succinct summaries of the content of the meetings instead of line-to-line scripts.

“I’m excited about the opportunities that the SPS will create for students to have a clear and tangible way to access members of the board. In past years, there has been a disconnect between the student body and the Board, and this represents an important first step in creating a more accessible Board,” Esquivel said.