Letter to the Editor: Five UMass student trustee votes

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

By Editorial Board

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Dear Daily Collegian,

My name is Tyler O’Day, and I am writing you about a chance to fundamentally change the amount of say students have in how the entirety of the University of Massachusetts system runs. Currently, there is a bill being reviewed by the Massachusetts House, bill H.1088, which was sponsored by none other than the new Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh. This bill would allow all five student trustees serving on the UMass Board of Trustees to vote because right now only two get to vote at a time. Each UMass campus elects a student trustee to a one-year term, but only two get to vote during that year. This year, student trustee Megan Kingston from UMass does not get to vote. Yes, you read that correctly – the student that represents all 27,000 of us does not get to vote this year. Not only that, but this has been going on every single year since UMass Lowell opened. The Board of Trustees controls the entire UMass system. For instance, they are the ones who selected our current chancellor. Further, seeing as every decision handed down by the Board of Trustees directly affects the lives of all 68,000 students within the UMass system, I firmly believe that there should be full student representation within the board itself. As the board currently stands, students are not only being disenfranchised, we are being disrespected. The current makeup of the board isn’t reflective of the constituency it supposedly represents, that constituency being us, the undergraduate and graduate students of UMass. It’s our right to be heard, and, seeing how all five student members of the board are elected by us, it is our right to have full representative power: power in fighting for policies that reflect the values of the entire student population, not just 40 percent of us. This bill will provide all 68,000 of us with the voice that we deserve, and will be a progressive step for the university system as a whole.

Tyler O’Day