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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Trustees should strive to connect with students

Published: December 2, 2011
Section: Editorials

Next week the board of trustees will gather at Brandeis to discuss the strategic vision of Brandeis but most integral community members—the vast majority of students—often don’t get to know trustees. It is a sad thing and it represents a larger problem. How many trustees do students know? Do most even know Chairman Mal Sherman? Did students know before her unfortunate passing that Myra Kraft, prodigious philanthropist and co-owner of the New England Patriots, was integral to Brandeis’ direction and mission?

This board strongly feels that trustees should be more present on campus—more visible, more in touch with students and involved more than just behind the scenes.

Trustees should, like President Fred Lawrence, attend campus events. A basketball game, theater productions, student forums or even more speaker events. As Lawrence should be applauded for his attendance at student events, the trustees should be encouraged to follow his example.

The board of trustees, of course, is heavily involved with everything at the university to a greater extent, likely, than most students realize: They approve each and every curriculum chance, hiring decision and of course guide the allocation of tuition dollars.

So they should be not simply more accountable and invite some students onto their committees—but be visible among their “constituents.”

And now would be a great time to start—the board of trustees is having their next meeting next week. Now, guess how many students knew that? Perhaps that number could be improved next time.