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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Allow student reps to vote

Published: April 8, 2011
Section: Editorials

On April 14, the student body will have a chance to vote on many Student Union positions. Included in those positions are then representatives to the board of trustees. Despite representing the entire undergraduate student body, these representatives will not have a vote in matters discussed by the board.

We think that they should.

The board of trustees makes crucial decisions regarding the university budget and other matters that subsequently impacting student life. Arguably, students are the university population that are most impacted by the board’s decisions.

Whether it be choosing which academic programs to cut, which buildings to renovate or anything in between, students are the most effected. While faculty certainly feel the results of the board’s decisions, their representatives do receive a vote in board matters.

Not only are student representatives to the board of trustees unable to vote, they are also not allowed to attend executive sessions of the board, which are only open to voting members. Executive sessions where, for example, the vote to close the Rose Art Museum was cast, often are the site for the most controversial decisions the board makes.

Having voting student representatives to the board of trustees is not a unique idea, and is carried out by many colleges such as William Paterson University and Kean University.

Currently, Brandeis student representatives to the board of trustees are there to give their opinions on board decisions but do not actually have a say. We would rather have something than nothing, but it is disenfranchising to have a representative that cannot vote.

Given that social justice is a core value of Brandeis, this quasi-taxation without representation is appalling. Having a voice should mean having a vote.