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Student Trustee's Corner

Diversity and Inclusion

Today the President’s Council had a wonderful lunch discussion about diversity and inclusion at Colorado College. President Tiefenthaler has spearheaded a new listening effort around these issues, which she writes about here. I am very excited about this initiative and appreciate hearing the valuable comments from the members of President’s Council.

Library Architect Interviews

As part of the Library Strategic Planning Team (SPT), chaired by Trustee Van Skilling, I participated in the interviews for a design architect for the new Tutt Library. There was some really interesting ideas to consider and I appreciate that students were able to have a seat at the table. Comments from all interviewers–which consisted of students, staff, faculty, and trustees–will be submitted to President Tiefenthaler, who will choose which design architect to select.

Board Transparency

The Progressive Student Alliance, a new student group this year, recently submitted a proposal to the Board regarding transparency, available here: Progressive Student Alliance – Transparency Proposal Proposal.

In response, I have also submitted a memorandum to the Board on this topic, available here: Student Trustee Transparency Memo.

I look forward to working on these issues in the days ahead.

Student Trustee Selection Process

This morning, I attended the Board of Trustees Governance Committee meeting in Denver, where I presented a proposal for an elected student trustee (see here: Memo – Student Trustee Selection Process).

The Committee was very open to the proposal and adopted it with slight modification. For the upcoming academic year, the Governance Committee will seek applications for students interested in serving as student trustee, and review those applications and conduct interviews as needed. (The interviewers may include the current student trustee as well as the student body president). The Governance Committee will then forward the names of the top three applicants to CCSGA. The student body will vote on those three candidates. The winning candidate, subject to approval by the Governance Committee, will serve a one-year term as a voting member of the Board of Trustees.

I am thrilled that the Committee expressed a willingness to allow students the ability to elect the student trustee. In my judgment, the adopted proposal will greatly enhance student input in college governance while simultaneously providing adequate checks to ensure the student trustee is qualified for board service.

Many thanks to Governance Committee Chair Phil Swan, President Tiefenthaler and the entire Board of Trustees for their support of the student trustee position.

CCSGA Meeting – September 11

This evening, I had a great meeting with CCSGA Full Council, who offered their thoughts on the student trustee position and the selection process for the student trustee. Thanks to Student Body President Alejandro Salazar and his team for having me.

Here is the handout I presented to them this evening: 2014.9.11 Update.

End-of-summer update

Hello, all, and welcome back to the start of a new academic year! I wanted to post a brief update as to what I have been working on over the last few weeks.

First, I drafted a policy proposal which was forwarded to the Board’s Governance Committee, suggesting that the Committee adopt an elected model for the student trustee position. In my judgment, an elected student trustee model would provide a more sound method of governance for the Board. My proposal is available here: Memo – Student Trustee Selection Process.

Second, I have been reviewing information on the College endowment in preparation for the upcoming September 16 meeting of the Committee on Investment, to be held in New York. You may be interested to know that other Board committees meeting in September include the Buildings, Grounds and Infrastructure Committee and the Governance Committee.If you are interested in learning more about the Colorado College Endowment, I encourage you to check out the J.W. Bristol endowment report, available from the circulation desk at Tutt Library.

Third, I attended the weekly CCSGA meetings (Thursdays, 7 p.m., WES room) to let them know about some Board activities. These weekly CCSGA meetings are open to the public and I’d encourage you to attend.

Reflections on the Summer Retreat

I just wanted to write to fill you in on the recent Board of Trustees summer retreat. The Board met in Colorado Springs from Wednesday through Friday. As this meeting was the yearly retreat, Wednesday was focused primarily on orientation for new trustees. On Thursday, the Board held breakout sessions on the library project, the academic program, and CC’s position compared to our peers. On Friday, we held our business meeting.

Multiple trustees expressed to me how much they appreciated the student trustee position. While students and trustees don’t always agree, it is important to remember how much the trustees care about Colorado College. Each of the individuals on the Board has devoted extraordinary time and/or financial resources to the Board, and each cares deeply about the long-term success of CC. I was very impressed with the diversity of the other trustees and learned a great deal from their questions and comments.

I anticipate the library renovation to be one of the projects on which the Board will appreciate student input during the upcoming year. Like Joel, I will be serving on the Library Strategic Planning Team (SPT). Currently, as you probably know, MASS Design Group is completing a report on the design phase of the project. The library renovation is a very exciting development and an important part of the strategic plan.

Also, like Joel and Samantha, I will be serving on the Investment Committee. The Committee, which is currently chaired by Adam F. Press, provides oversight of the College’s endowment. I spoke briefly with Stacy Lutz Davidson and am hopeful that students will re-engage with the proxy voting process. If you have any ideas on that front, let me know. I have also been in contact with the leaders of the Student Divestment Committee and am hopeful for a productive relationship.

Hello, and an Update

Thank you very much for paying a visit to the Student Trustee’s Corner! I am so pleased you are interested in the student trustee’s role.

I wanted to provide a brief update on my preparation for the upcoming summer Board of Trustees retreat, which will be held June 25-27 in Colorado Springs. Unlike the board meetings that fall during the academic year, this  meeting is a retreat, where trustees have a bit more time to reflect on long-term goals and assess our progress thus far. To prepare, I have been in contact with the CCSGA executive team, who have offered their thoughts on student sentiment and important issues for students on campus Joel Begay and Samantha Barlow have been extremely helpful in offering perspective and reflections on their terms as student trustee. I am also trying to learn as much as I can about the library renovation process, as I expect the library to be a major focus for the Board this year. I am very excited to attend my first board meeting!

One of the most important tasks of a student trustee is to facilitate communication between students and trustees. I hope you’ll reach out and let me know your thoughts on Colorado College and the board. On issues ranging from the strategic plan to tuition rates, from the sustainability of our endowment to the future of the library, the board deals with issues of great significance to students.

Colorado College exists for students, and to a large extent, is funded by us. According to Colorado College’s 2012-2013 financial statements, 74.7% of Colorado College’s yearly operating budget was funded by students. The student trustee position provides an important avenue for students to have a stake in College governance. I am deeply humbled to be selected for the position, and look forward to our work ahead.