I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but yesterdays showing from the Board of Governors representative candidates did not leave me with much confidence that students will have a strong advocate on the board next year.
Levi Flaman did at least say that he was willing to get “down in the trenches” with students if they decide to protest rising international student tuition, which I respect. I’m glad to see Flaman showing a little more backbone. I think he still has a ways to go before he is ready to advocate for students at the university’s highest levels, but this is progress.
Current Board of Governors representative Mike Sandare asked the candidates what they would do if a controversial issue was discussed in a closed-door meeting, and while Flaman gave a fair enough response (saying that he would have to respect the confidentiality policy), nothing about his answer suggested that he would follow up on the information, or do anything at all really to help students in that circumstance. A stronger candidate may have answered that knowing the issue was likely to eventually be discussed in a public meeting of the board, they would gather as much possible information about the issue in advance and be as prepared as possible to take on the issue when it did come to light. This was yet another subpar answer from an overall subpar race.
Yiming Chen, for her part, misunderstood Sandare’s question and answered as though she herself was proposing something controversial — which, honestly, would be refreshing. But from what we’ve seen so far in the campaign, I doubt that Chen would bring forward anything particularly new if she was elected.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a crucial time for students, and many of the decisions made this year are likely to set a precedent for future decisions — whether that be changes to tuition, residence rates, or meal plans. We need strong representatives to be at the tables where those decisions are made, and I still don’t trust either of these candidates to bring that strength to the Board of Governors.