The local governing board for ETSU that will replace the Tennessee Board of Regents is coming together. In a recent article by WJHL News Channel 11, Governor Bill Haslam, who appointed the eight individuals to the governing board, said that making ETSU better starts with listening to the staff.
Governor Haslam’s sentiment is in the right place; staff are one of the most important and valuable parts of the university. All students interact with them on a daily basis. They’re teachers, mentors, friends, role models.
But any governing board for the university should represent all groups at the university, especially those who the university is designed to serve, those who will be at least partially responsible for financing the university’s endeavors, those whose future could be bettered or worsened by the university’s prestige rising or falling: students.
As reported by the Johnson City Press on Feb. 14, there will be a student representative on the governing board, but it is still undetermined if the student will be given a vote.
While this would be a huge responsibility for the student who was chosen to represent his or her peers, the Student Government Association is already in place for students to elect their representatives and voice their concerns.
Allowing an SGA executive to participate in the governing board would be a convenient way for students to be represented at the highest level so that real changes could be made to give students a better experience at the university.
Not only that, each group on campus has a different experience of the university. It is important to give every group a voice and a vote so that all factors of a decision can be considered.
No student will ever truly understand what it is like to be a faculty member at the university, and no faculty member will understand what it is like to be a current student attending the university. Each group needs a vote to ensure that the best decisions are made for the university as a whole. Real, positive change cannot be expected when any group is excluded or not allowed equal consideration.
Making ETSU better starts with listening to the staff and the students.