There are 19 empty Senate seats in the Student Association, and every student representative seat on the Faculty Senate is empty with just three weeks left in the fall 2019 semester. The Northern Star has been searching for a student representative to serve on its Publication Board for weeks, and other boards on campus mirror these searches.
It is because of these numbers we felt prompted to ask: What is stopping you?
Faculty Senate President Kendall Thu said students have a vested interest in participating in these boards, specifically the Faculty Senate. This is because the body makes decisions that directly affect student life, such as the new initiative to begin testing-optional admissions.
“Most Faculty Senates have student representatives because students and faculty know the most about [what’s going on],” Thu said. “We need students for input. Otherwise, we’re just guessing on what the students want.”
There are 16 student-voting seats on the Faculty Senate. In the 2018-19 academic year, the average student attendance at Faculty Senate meetings was 3.43 students per meeting, according to attendance data provided by the Faculty Senate.
Students can also provide input serving on the Student Association, whose current president, Naomi Bolden, ran uncontested for the elected position. Still, at week 13 of the semester, there are 19 empty Senate seats, Ian Pearson said.
“We need students who want to make change on campus and in the community,” Pearson said.
As a member of the SA Senate, students have the opportunity to represent issues they feel are impacting the student body. The SA works with both the administration and the city to improve student life and makes funding decisions with a budget of $1.2 million for Fiscal Year 2020.
Other organizations with positions for student representation include the Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, with one and two seats respectively. While these three positions are filled for the semester, they will reopen next academic year.
The Board of Trustees, which meets once a month, also hosts a time for public comment which students can use as a space to voice their concerns. Similarly, the SA provides the same public comment section at the beginning of each of its meetings.
While the DeKalb City Council, whose meetings are 6 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of the month, doesn’t have student seats, it provides a platform for public comment.
In addition, all of the presidential commissions have student seats, and there are student positions on both the Conduct Board and Conduct Advisory Board as well. These boards address cases of academic misconduct, appeals and other related issues.
These seats are created as a way to give students a voice, and students should use these positions to do exactly that. Many of them are not very time consuming and can help students build their resume. It is not too late for interested students to reach out and apply to represent the student body.