We will not be silenced
Ohio State University’s newest student trustee began her term on June 1. Kent State University’s trustee began her term on July 19. Ohio University knew who their new student voice on the Board of Trustees would be by May. And Youngstown State University? We found out last Friday.
After four and a half months of having only one student trustee, the student body has a full voice once again. It’s great that we have two student trustees now. It really is. But why are we forced to wait until a month into the school year to be granted our right as students — as tuition paying students that keep this school alive — to a voice on the Board of Trustees?
“It is one person for 13,000 students,” said Melissa Wasser, formerly YSU’s only student trustee. “I don’t really think that is OK.”
For nearly five months, all of us — all 13,381 YSU students — had one voice in a very important part of the university, a part of the university that made an important decision in YSU’s history: the election of a new president.
And this is not the first time that the students of YSU have had part of their voice cut off from how the university is run. Wasser had to wait until Sept. 13, 2012 to begin her term. Joshua Prest, who student trustee Eric Shehadi is now replacing, had to wait until Sept. 20 2011 to begin.
Prest’s term ended April 30. Since then, there have been seven Board of Trustee meetings without a second student voice — one where Randy Dunn was chosen as the new YSU president and another where tuition was increased and a mandatory transportation fee was added to existing charges.
This is a problem that needs to be resolved. There is no reason that the responsibility of representing over 13, 000 students should fall on one person. There is no reason for a lack of student representation because of this annual delay.
Clearly, there is something wrong with the process of appointing a new student trustee every year. This year, the Board of Trustees had it in their agenda in May to approve a list of candidates and send it to Governor Kasich’s office. That list was submitted May 28.
It took the governor’s office three months and three weeks to pick a candidate, a decision that came only a day after our reporters began calling to get an answer.
That’s not to say that we are solely responsible for the appointment of a new trustee, but rather, it seems that the decision was not made until someone started wondering about it.
Something like this, something like giving the students of YSU a full voice in university policy and decision, cannot be treated like something that only matters when people complain.
This is a problem that must be rectified next spring and if it is not, it will be a great disservice to the students of YSU.
We are the ones that this university exists to serve. For us to not be heard is not something that should ever happen. And surely, it is not something that should happen every year.