ANNELISE GILBERT ’17
Almost exactly a year ago, as the Managing Editor of the Tripod, I wrote an editorial addressing the College’s lack of transparency concerning Board of Trustees members’ campus visits. The editorial called for Board of Trustee meeting information to be published through the Trinity Today calendar, so students, faculty members, and any other members of the community would have the opportunity to directly voice their concerns to trustees. This method has proven useful at our fellow NESCAC member Wesleyan.
Last February around 100 Wesleyan students staged a protest at their Board of Trustees meeting to encourage the university to divest their endowment. Again, this past November, members of Wesleyan’s Student Union showed up to a closed Board of Trustee’s meeting where only “a handful of members of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA)” had been invited. The uninvited students hoped “to open the meeting in a demand for transparency and accountability.” The demonstration appeared to result in the meeting being moved off campus. In addition to their closed meeting, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees also had scheduled a public meeting open to all students later that afternoon.
Sadly, my call for meetings to be included on the Trinity Today calendar has not been answered. Their meeting dates are listed on the Board of Trustees homepage on the main Trinity website, but I doubt many students go out of their way to check that. Further, only the dates are listed and no meeting times or locations are provided. The trustees were on campus this past weekend, and there is no mention of any of their activities on Trinity Today while I’m unsure if the inclement weather affected their plans. The most pubic evidence of their visit is a photo tweeted by Danny Meyer ’80 P ’20 at Peter B’s.
In the past, Trinity students have taken advantage of Trustees’ presence on campus to fight for issues they are passionate about. In 1968 168 members of the Trinity community staged a lock-in of the trustees in order to force them to consider the Senate’s proposal concerning scholarships for black students. The act proved successful, in that it resulted in the College promising a $30,000 scholarship fund for black students.
Without fair notice of when and where Board of Trustees meetings occur, it is difficult for students to take action. Additionally, an open forum like Wesleyan’s open to everyone, not just those invited to panels and lunches, would give equal opportunity for all to voice concerns to trustees.