USS Clashes with Board of Trustees
Senators angry they won't be able to address meeting
Monday, April 5th, 2010
The USS executive committee had requested an opportunity to give a presentation on the state of student affairs before the board of trustees at the board's next and final meeting of the year in May. When Doris Suarez, The New School's secretary of the corporation, wrote to deny the USS the opportunity, co-chairs Dan Schulman and Peter Cummings criticized the move in separate e-mails sent to trustees as well as the provost, several deans, and other administrators.
In a separate e-mail to the *New School Free Press*, Suarez said that although the board is committed to an open relationship between the student government and trustees, the May meeting was too booked to devote additional time to the USS.
Suarez acts as a liason between the board and the wider university.
"Because May will be the last full meeting of the academic year, the Board already has quite a full agenda and end-of-year business to conduct," Suarez wrote. She said they would be discussing next year's budget as well as other topics.
USS Co-Chair Schulman said that this kind of decision making represents one of the problems at the university. "This kind of unilateral decision making without the representation of those that the decision effects is a pure example of what we have been rallying against for years and the kind of process that leads to campus unrest," he wrote in the March 21 reply.
The USS began in 2007 and has since struggled to integrate itself into the culture and governance of the university.
Last year, President Bob Kerrey criticized the USS as not being "fully representative of the full body of students."
Unlike other universities' student governments, the USS has no formal relationship with higher administration. At New York University, for instance, the university-wide Student Senators Council is a sub-division of the University Senate, which is the chief deliberative body at the university; includes administrators, staff, and faculty; and is chaired by NYU President John Sexton.
Neither Cummings nor Schulman have recieved replies to their e-mails, though they will be meeting with board Chair Michael Johnston on Wednesday April 7.
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