Saturday, December 4, 2021

Letter: MSU should add multiple students, faculty to Board of Trustees

 ASMSU president Lorenzo Santavicca listens to interim president John Engler speak during an ASMSU meeting on March 29, 2018 at the Student Services Building.
ASMSU president Lorenzo Santavicca listens to interim president John Engler speak during an ASMSU meeting on March 29, 2018 at the Student Services Building. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

By Anna Pegler-Gordon and Andaluna Borcila

Pegler-Gordon and Borcila are associate professors in the James Madison College.


We are writing in response to a recent article in The State News, “Student groups advocate to amend constitution,” regarding differing plans for increased MSU community representation on the Board of Trustees. 

As faculty members who work in alliance with students and staff as part of Reclaim MSU, we strongly support greater representation of MSU community members on the Board of Trustees, including faculty representation. 

ASMSU proposes just one student representative on the Board; we support two students and two faculty members joining eight board members on a 12-person governing body. ASMSU proposes changing the State Constitution; we support amending the Constitution, but we also offer an alternative that could be implemented at the very next governing board meeting.

Faculty members are represented on the boards of four Big Ten institutions, almost one quarter of public universities and more than one quarter of private institutions. Students are represented in even greater numbers. In fact, MSU, the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota are outliers as the only Big Ten schools that have no faculty or student representation on their boards.

We support ASMSU’s proposal for student representation on the Board of Trustees, but we believe having only one undergraduate student on the board is inadequate to meet the needs of the MSU community at this critical time or in the future. As members of Reclaim MSU and as MSU faculty, we believe that student and faculty representation on the Board of Trustees will strengthen communication, accountability and governance. And we believe it is essential to ensuring that the Board is responsive to the demands of sexual assault survivors at MSU.

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