Student Council discusses possibility of elected student Board representative

Current student Board representative speaks out against proposed changes

Board of Visitors student representative Hillary Hurd spoke out at Tuesday’s Student Council meeting against a Virginia House of Delegates bill that would require all student Board representatives to be elected.

Currently, any eligible student interested in serving as a representative to the Board submits an application that is then reviewed by a panel of elected student leaders. Finalists are then interviewed by the Board’s executive committee.

Hurd, a fourth-year College student, raised concerns about allowing students to campaign for the position rather than keeping to the current three-step selection process.

“I believe it is really important to represent the students … But I don’t think it’s a good idea for there to be a general election,” Hurd said. “So much of running for election is part of articulating an agenda. Applying to the Board of Visitors is not having an agenda.”

The current application process ensures the student understands the Board’s role at the University, Hurd said.

Fourth-year College student Johnny Vroom, Council president, said most students are not intimately familiar with the Board’s operations and proceedings. Vroom said the multistep selection process allows the Board to create a relationship and build trust with the student representative which is crucial for the position. “Mandating one selection method makes me a little uncomfortable,” he said.

Some Council members questioned the legitimacy of the position, however, when students are not elected.

“[Electing the representative would be] adding legitimacy and confirming the representative nature,” said second-year Engineering student Jalen Ross, a Council engineering representative.

Council also addressed the section of the bill that would require a faculty representative to the Board, a measure that Hurd said the Board was already considering.

Several Council members added that this requirement is “relatively noncontroversial” but the discussion should be left to members of the Faculty Senate.

Council agreed to discuss the bill further at next week’s meeting.

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