Letter: ‘I Told You So’ on Student Trustee Voting Rights
However, I feel the need to comment on yesterday’s Post article, “Privileges to vote may be granted,” and underscore the underlying importance for Ohio University students. The coverage suggested that voting privileges may be granted to Student Trustees on the OU Board of Trustees. This is an amazing victory for students who want more say as to how their tuition dollars are spent! There is no reason for an OU student not to support this effort. The attitude held by former Student Trustee Chauncey Jackson-– that a Student Trustee should not have a vote– is the worst possible for someone in that position. If all a Student Trustee needs to do is “build relations,” as Jackson proudly asserts, in the end there is nothing more than a power relationship in which the student is at the bottom, and the rest of the Board is at the top. Consider parallels to this on a national level: what if Democrat Barack Obama said to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, “Well, we’re taking away your vote. But don’t worry: you can still ‘build relationships’ with the primarily-Democrat Senate, and maybe then you’ll be able to influence their decisions.” Would that still be called democracy? Of course not!
Student Trustee voting rights were one of two primary issues of concern for FACE in last spring’s Student Senate elections. The Post, in choosing which political party to endorse, condemned FACE, calling its aspirations for shared governance ‘too idealistic’ and likely ‘unachievable.’ I now feel vindicated to say, “I told you so.” OU students having more say as to how their money is spent should never be thought of as too unworthy a goal.
Ironically, of the two primary goals FACE campaigned on, achieving Student Trustee voting rights was considered more impractical. The second issue concerned opening Budget Planning Council meetings. In contrast to the protocol for granting Trustee voting rights, all it would take is an administrative decision by OU to let students in to BPC meetings and be privy to information concerning how the money the pay to the university is spent.
If the majority of a state legislature can be convinced, then so can a few OU admins. However, the current Student Senate needs to make its voice heard on both issues. President Kyle Triplett cannot simply attempt to ignore them as he did with SB5. Unlike the latter, shared governance is not an issue that students feel differently about if they’re Republicans or Democrats. This is not a ‘left’ versus ‘right’ issue; what unites students on both sides of the political spectrum is being a student.
It is time to let Ohio University students eat with the grown-ups, as opposed to be relegated to the ‘“kids’ table.” To paraphrase the slogan on www.VoteFACE.com, this is OUR university, and we deserve a vote!
Matthew Wallace is a Senior at Ohio University and the President of the FACE Ticket last year.Share