April 20, 2010

Undergraduate Liaison: Frank Alarcon

First-year College Council representative Frank Alarcon is running a “pragmatic campaign” for undergraduate liaison to the Board of Trustees.

Alarcon is basing his campaign on effectively gathering student sentiment and conveying that sentiment to the Board. In addition to expanding the visibility of the position on campus at open forums, Alarcon plans to speak with Board members beyond those on the Campus and Student Life Committee, currently the only committee the liaison sits on.

He will also seek to educate the student body on both what is said at the meetings and what the roles of the Board and its student liaisons are, he said. “In my opinion, the liaison to the Board of Trustees is a reactive position. [Liaisons] are not student activists,” Alarcon said, referring to the perception some on campus have that the position is meant as a platform for liasons to air their issues to the Board of Trustees.

In a March interview with the maroon, Andrew Alper (A.B. ’80, M.B.A. ’81) said the Board’s role is in setting long-term strategies and not day-to-day issues. Alarcon agreed, pointing out that the student liaisons serve at the pleasure of Board of Trustees. “The liaisons should never antagonize the Board...shouting is not in the best interest of the students,” he said.

Nevertheless, Alarcon suggested the Board could hear more from the students and said he would try to communicate with the Board’s Campus Planning and Facilities, the Community and Civic Affairs committees, and with all 47 members at Board receptions.

“The Board of Trustees definitely thinks long-term, but it also serves an influential role over short-term policies,” Alarcon said, noting overwhelming student sentiment on any issue would warrant Trustee involvement in some capacity or another. He cited February’s student arrest and the student reaction around it as an example of an issue on which the Trustees should have been briefed.