a junior history and political science major at UB, is the new student
member of the SUNY Board of Trustees
did you come to be the student member of the SUNY Board of Trustees?
Upon the resignation of Christopher Holland, the former trustee and president
of the SUNY Student Assembly, I left my position as vice president of
the Student Assembly and assumed the role of trustee/president on Feb.
1. The board of trustees is composed of 18 members, 17 of whom are direct
gubernatorial appointments. The student trustee position, the only non-gubernatorial
position, is particularly valuable for this reason. As student trustee,
I am the 18th ex-officio voting member by virtue of my position as the
president of the SUNY Assembly.
does it mean to be the student member of the board? Do you have the same
status as the other trustees? How long is your term?
As president of the SUNY Student Assembly and as a student, it is my responsibility
to represent more than 388,000 students across 64 diverse SUNY campusesan
opportunity and responsibility that I value greatly. The student trustee
represents these students not only to the board of trustees, but also
to all other statewide agencies, including SUNY system administration
and the New York State Legislature. I have the same status as the rest
of the board in that I am a voting member and have the same rights and
privileges as all other trustees. Since I am a trustee by virtue of my
position, my term is concomitant with my term as SUNY Student Assembly
president, on which there is a limit of two years.
the student member have any specific duties or sit on any specific committees?
The student trustee's duties are the same as those of a gubernatorial
appointee. The only committee I am required to sit on is the executive
committee. Other than that, I am able to choose the committees I wish
to sit on based on what I feel is most important during my time with the
board. This gives the student trustee the freedom to address whichever
issues he or she feels are urgent, as well as participate in any board
discussions he or she chooses.
do you hope to accomplish as the student member?
As I mentioned, it is up to the student trustee to represent the interests
of more than 388,000 students from 64 diverse campuses. These campuses
range in size and type from community colleges, to agricultural and technical
institutes, to university centers, to graduate and professional schools.
It is my hope to represent these student interests appropriately and effectively
to the board of trustees. Also, I hope to help the assembly lobby effectively
on the governor's 2002-03 executive budget, as well as various pieces
of legislation concerning higher education. We also will continue to address
such issues as TAP and EOP cutbacks, as well as oppose tuition increases.
sitting on a board with some pretty heavy hitters in New York State. How
does it feel?
Without a doubt, the board of trustees' composition is unique and well-devised
to represent all of SUNY's interests, and I certainly do not take for
granted the influence it has over all SUNY students. I eagerly look forward
to working with these well-established and respected members in the New
York State community on our common goalto continue to build SUNY
as a premiere and well-venerated system of higher education, not only
within New York State, but nationwide.
also serve as president of the SUNY Student Assembly. What does that entail?
The primary and most important duty of the president is that of trustee.
By allowing the president of the assembly to focus on his/her duties as
trustee, the assembly is able assure the best possible student representation
on the board. The internal and everyday workings of the student assembly
are mostly left in the hands of the vice president and other elected board
members, with the president being as involved as he/she chooses or feels
is appropriate. Assembly matters, such as networking between schools,
providing assistance to student governments and individual committee meetings,
usually are left to the other members of the assembly, all of whom are
leaders from their respective schools. While the president is still involved
in all major decisions within the assembly, often chairs assembly meetings
and ultimately still runs the organization, it is in everyone's best interests
to delegate any micro-management issues so as to stay focused on the trustee
position and its responsibilities.
are your plans after graduation?
Law school. Yes, I know I knowan all-too-common choice for today's
undergraduates. Let me assure you that practicing law actually has been
a goal of mine for quite some time.
question do you wish I had asked, how would you have answered it?
Really, just what else I am involved with here at UB? I'm a junior history
and political science majorI plan to add African-American studies
as a third major after I finish the other requirements this semester.
I'm a member of Phi Eta Sigma, the national college honor society. I'm
president and chair of the Board of Directors for Sub-Board I Inc. and
for the Faculty Student Association Inc. In addition, I'm a SUNY Student
Assembly delegate for the UB undergraduate Student Association
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