Board of Trustees needs more students

Amanda Salazar

As of late, it feels like CUNY has been operating at an expense to its students, with complications like the unwelcome tuition and fees hike emerging while nearly all of the university’s campuses are undergoing disruptive and massive construction projects while students are trying to learn.

Some campuses, like the New York City College of Technology, don’t have full library hours. 

And some schools don’t have food pantries for students battling food insecurities.

Classes are getting larger, schools are getting more crowded and elevators don’t fully function at any of the 25 CUNY colleges.

However, things don’t seem to be improving.

It can, in part, be blamed on the CUNY Board of Trustees, which is the governing body of the public university system. 

Comprised of 15 trustees, one vice chair and the chairperson, the board, along with Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez and the CUNY college presidents, get to make decisions on behalf of all the students.

The problem here is that only one of these trustees is a student. 

The rest are all many years past their college days, and many dollars ahead of those days, as well.

Trustee Timothy Hunter is the only student on the board. 

He gets to sit on the board because it is one of the responsibilities of being the University Student Senate chairperson, which is pretty much like being the president of the Undergraduate Student Government for all the CUNYs together.

The CUNY Board of Trustees votes on things that affect students and also professors. 

Other than Hunter, the board members never really feel the effects of their choices.

The members vote on issues like tuition hikes and then pat themselves on the back for a good day’s work. 

From there, it’s on the student to cope and deal with that vote and the consequences that come after it. 

The people who voted on it will never have to deal with the consequences of that decision, because they make decisions for a group which they are not a part of.

It is unethical to have a board of these detached people making decisions on students’ behalves. 

The board needs to have more student representatives to be able to more accurately cater to the needs and desires of students.

Yes, the board has many experienced professionals filling its ranks. 

But these people are no longer in-touch with the students of CUNY and their needs.

Hunter himself can only do so much to fight for the rights of students — and one vote out of 17 isn’t much more than a statement. 

If the one student on the board isn’t given any legitimate power or support, then he or she is just a consolation prize, rather than the voice of the students.