Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Morning Wood: UMass Student Trustee stages apparent hostile corporate takeover of Board of Trustees

“Take that Elon Musk.”
Andy Castillo/Daily Collegian (2015)

According to a Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing released Monday, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees has been taken over by the Amherst student trustee in an apparent hostile corporate action.

Yu Khan, a junior studying finance, was recently elected by the Amherst campus student body with an astounding 103 percent of the vote. The Collegian has launched an investigation into the election following a report issued by the Student Government Association stating that there were 42,035 votes cast in the trustee election. According to official numbers by the University, there are only 28,012 voters eligible to cast their ballot for trustee.

The University of Massachusetts system had been previously overseen by a 22-member board, of which 17 were appointed by the governor and the remaining five were elected by the student bodies of the five campuses. Serving as the legislative body for the University system, the Board of Trustees oversaw general policies affecting faculty, staff and students across the state.

Students have previously voiced their concerns about proper representation on the Board. Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 75, § 1A (2018) states that “The student members shall be elected annually, and each shall be selected on a rotating basis in order by the student body of the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Worcester campuses.”

“In any given year, the elected student representatives of the three campuses without a vote shall be ex officio non-voting members of the board; provided, however, that said members may only participate in open meetings of the full board of trustees,” the law states. It also adds that each representative can only serve a one-year term, meaning that the majority of the time, tens of thousands of students do not have a vote at Board meetings.

After consulting with leaders in the SGA, Khan announced that they were planning on purchasing the majority of shares of the University of Massachusetts system and claimed that they would become Chair of the Board.

The SEC filing explained that the Board of Trustees is not a corporate entity and as such, does not issue shares. However, they noted that Khan had still managed to take over the Board and had become the majority shareholder.

The filing was accompanied by an extensive amount of paperwork issued by a law firm representing Khan arguing that the takeover was legally sound. The firm, Offices of Legal Student Services (OLSS), stated that because Khan is a finance major, they clearly had a fundamental understanding of the corporate environment. “Yu Khan has the full confidence of the Offices of Legal Student Services and we believe that they will be successful,” OLSS explained.

In a statement, the Board of Trustees claimed that the takeover was “a humorous attempt by an ignorant student to subvert the law.”

“We have no idea where Yu Khan had the thought that they could purchase shares of the University of Massachusetts system,” the statement read. “The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees continues to follow the laws written by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by the Governor.”

UMass Chancellor Buster Cherry had previously announced that he was going to be exploring options for the Amherst campus to have more control of the Board of Trustees. According to UMass spokesperson Neil Anblomi, the Chancellor is aware of Khan’s actions but will not comment further.

The SGA had also been investigating opportunities for the Amherst campus to have a higher status on the Board.

At a recent meeting, SGA Head of Head Ben Dover launched a filibuster over a motion to adjourn, delivering a six-hour speech outlining his frustrations with the lack of representation on the Board of Trustees. Once he completed his initial speech, Dover began to read passages from the U.S. Constitution, explaining that his rights were being infringed upon. After six hours, Dover explained that while he would like to continue, he does not want to “miss out on Berk late night,” and ended his filibuster. However, as the SGA does not have a filibuster rule in its constitution, members proceeded to vote to adjourn while Dover began speaking and promptly ended the meeting, leaving Dover to speak alone in an empty room.

According to Dover, he approached Khan the following day to see if they had an interest in expanding their control over the Board. He was blown away by Khan’s idea of a corporate takeover, explaining that the trustee was a “finance genius.”

Sitting in an empty classroom in Isenberg, Khan has taped notebook paper on the door which states, “Yu Khan, Chair of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees,” and operates it as their official office until the FINANCE301 course at 3:30 p.m.

“I am the University of Massachusetts,” Khan proclaimed to the empty classroom. “Take that Elon Musk.”

Chan Cellar is the Senior Deputy Assistant Executive Editor at the Collegian, where he covers SGA drama, gossip and budget processes.

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    Adam LechowiczApr 1, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    definitely not the worst idea I’ve ever heard