ASWC To Expand Student Presence on Governing Committees

Emily Lin-Jones

ASWC President Kayvon Behroozian announced at the ASWC Senate meeting on Sunday evening, March 3 that there will be expanded student representation within Whitman’s governing board committees next year.

Following conversations with Peter van Oppen and Nancy Serrurier, respectively chair and vice chair of the Board of Trustees, Behroozian said that next academic year he hopes to nearly double the number of student representatives currently sitting on committees. Additionally, these trustees have promised to allow a “meaningful amount of time” during future visits to campus to engage members of ASWC and other students in face-to-face discussions.

Currently, there is a student sitting on the Student Life, Enrollment, Academic Affairs and Diversity committees. The change will add an additional student representative to each of these committees, in addition to placing two students each on the Technology Task Force, Budgeting and Buildings and Grounds committees.

Trustees have also given permission for leaders of the Whitman Investment Company to sit in on meetings of the Investment committee without participating, when the committee convenes within a reasonable distance to campus.

“In the past couple years I’ve been on ASWC, the general attitude has been all or nothing with respect to stuff we want to do, and we’ve made very little headway with that kind of attitude,” said Behroozian. “This year, we’ve moved forward so much because of compromise.”

Behroozian noted that while the idea of having a student sitting on the Board of Trustees itself will likely not come to fruition this year, other forms of student representation are just as crucial.

“We didn’t abandon [the idea of a student representative], we made a compromise,” he said. “That’s not to say that we won’t pick it back up in the future, but first we need to prove that we’re capable of doing it [through student representatives on committees].”

As for whether the added student-trustee interaction and student involvement on committees will persist through turnover in ASWC and the Board of Trustees, Behroozian said it was a matter of appointed students establishing strong presences and making solid contributions to their committees.

“It is a matter of setting precedent. Unfortunately I can’t say for certain that this will stick around for years to come, but what I can say is that it likely will,” he said.