To The Collegian and Members of the UR Community,
I am writing in regard to my comments toward Dr. Ayers in the article, “Students protest reconfiguration at Board of Trustees luncheon.” My comments were taken out of context and were inappropriately personal. In the heat of the moment, I made the mistake of personalizing the legitimate fight for greater student involvement. For that, I apologize.
I think Dr. Ayers has managed to accomplish some very positive goals since arriving at the University. Although we may disagree on some issues, I support much of what he has done. One of the key issues that our President has championed has been student involvement. Given my steadfast support of student involvement, I certainly appreciate the support.
The RCSGA resolution to increase student involvement at the University builds on what Dr. Ayers started. I’m not seeking to challenge the President. Rather, I want to cooperate with the administration to increase student involvement. In his letter to The Collegian today, Chief McCoy outlined our resolution’s goals, “UR student perspectives, early participation and being transparent when possible will go a long way to ensure this type of situation does not occur again.” I could not have said it better myself.
Our resolution, which has been emailed to all Richmond College students (sorry WC, RCSGA doesn’t technically represent you!), seeks to establish a framework for students to give input at all levels of the University.
First, we ask that administration establish a transparency policy, so that all community members — but particularly students — can understand the reasoning that went into a particular decision. We know that there’s always information that the administration cannot release. All we ask is that the administration lists what information they can’t release.
Second, we suggest that the University include a student representative on every administrative committee that relates to students. Dr. Ayers has made strides toward including students on committees, and we’re just suggesting that the policy is formalized.
Third, we know that RCSGA and WCGA contain a diversity of student views. In a major University decision, we reckoned that the administration might value these views. Indeed, we suggested that the University administration consult the two bodies when making a decision that would impact more than 300 students. We don’t recommend that the administration follow our guidance, merely that they might benefit from hearing it.
Fourth and finally, we believe that the best way to safeguard student interests is to have two of our own on the Board. To clarify, there are already two student representatives on the Board committees. We sincerely appreciate the administration and the Board’s efforts to include student perspectives on the committees. What concerns us, however, is that some decisions might not receive student input if they are considered directly by the board’s executive committee, where there are no representatives. We think that the board’s decisions would be enriched by having a student perspective, and that is why we are proposing that two student-trustee positions be created.
To date, we do appreciate the efforts of the board and the University administration to include students. Our resolution suggests a framework to support and improve the existing efforts. We very much hope the administration and the board continue to give it consideration. If you approve of our suggestions, I very much hope that you will consider signing our coming petition.
I continue to believe very firmly in the power of the Richmond Promise, created by our esteemed President. Like many of my fellow Senators, I am a proud Spider and want this University to be the best it can possibly be. I hope that you will stand with us as we continue to work toward the best UR possible.