By Chris Bulfinch ’18
Meetings among Trinity’s Board of Trustees will continue to be closed to students, according to Trinity administrators. The meetings, which will take place in February and April of this year, have historically not been open to students, according to Dickens Mathieu, the Secretary of the College.
Trinity’s Board of Trustees handles of issues of governance including mission, strategy, protection and expenditure of financial resources, reputation, competitiveness, and community engagement; they meet three time per year to discuss these matters and “to govern in the best, long-term interests of the institution.”
Mathieu explained that while “engagement with students in both formal and informal settings is particularly valuable to the trustees,” the Board meets in private to “reduce the chances that decisions are influenced unduly by short-term interests or immediate political pressures.”
The Board does hold open forums each year to gather student input, affording students the opportunity to meet with Board members. Larger meetings, geared towards seniors and first-year students, have also been held in the past. The Board has not yet determined the form of or schedule for their meetings for the spring of 2017; there will be one meeting in February and another in April, according to Mathieu.
President Berger-Sweeney issues a report detailing the key points of each Trustee Meeting after the meetings’ conclusions.
Trinity students are not currently allowed to attend Trustee Meetings, and no student representatives have been delegated.
While not uncommon, some of Trinity’s peer institutions do allow students participation at Board of Trustee meetings; two members of Bowdoin’s student government attend their Board of Trustee meetings, and Wesleyan’s Student Union send representatives to such gatherings. In a push for transparency three weeks ago, members of Wesleyan’s Student Union forced their way into a Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 19.
Trinity’s administration “is working to increase the number of opportunities for… interactions” among Trustees and students, according to Mathieu. Around the time of their meetings this year, Board members will be making efforts to connect with students informally by dining in Mather. The Board would apparently “welcome input from students about topics and formats that would be of interest.”
By Chris Bulfinch ’18