After yesterday’s forums I am less worried about the Board of Governors representative race than I was before (I was very worried before), but I am still unconvinced that either Flaman or Chen will be able to aggravate for the change we really need to see at the Board of Governors level.
The BoG rep is often very detached from students — demonstrated by the lack of questions directed towards these candidates yesterday. They haven’t had the kind of visibility that the SU executives have had, and that makes it difficult for students to understand what the Board of Governors does, or how they are being represented on it.
When asked about that accessibility, Flaman said the SU offices are often seen as an “ivory tower” that students shouldn’t be expected to enter, and that instead, he wants to sit down and have coffee with students one-on-one. It may be sort of cheesy as a platform point, but if Flaman is elected, I honestly hope he follows through on it. The BoG rep has a really hard job to do, both staying grounded in what students need and also articulating those needs to the board in an intelligent and informed way. Being more present on campus would be a great start.
Chen’s plan for accessibility, though somewhat unclear to me, seemed to revolve around the BoG rep hosting some kind of event. No details were given about what kind of event this would be or who it would aim to engage, and so despite the fact that Chen is passionate about advocating for international students, I am increasingly unconvinced that she would be able to ensure that the Board of Governors makes decisions with students in mind.
Chen also spoke about consulting “senior governors” on the board in order to learn more about the role, and while I may have misunderstood her answer, this suggested to me that she would be more concerned about listening to the board members than ensuring they listen to her.
We need a BoG rep who will do their research, who will advocate tirelessly, and who will be creating convincing arguments that take into account the student experience, but also the details of the university’s financial standing. It’s a very demanding position, and we should demand more from these candidates.