Rishi Shah, current Student Government Association (SGA) president is pushing a campaign to create a student body seat on the Board of Regents at Seton Hall University.
Shah was elected student body president in 2018. Shah’s campaign to have a permanent seat on the Board of Regents at Seton Hall University is his most recent endeavor as president.
According to the Seton Hall official website, the Board of Regents current president is Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark. The Board of Regents also recently introduced three new members as of 2017. They include Nicole Archibald, Kimberly Anne Capadona and David Flood. With these new members, Shah wants to add a student to this board.
“Having a student body representative on the Board of Regents is critical to making sure that students are present for and have a voice in critical decisions pertaining to the university,” Shah said.
The Board of Regents as a governing body currently has no permanent student input. Shah said he believes that obtaining a student body seat would grant the student body equal representation in a governing body that does not hear from the students they serve.
Emani Miles, a senior Africana studies and political science major, believes that a permanent student seat is a good idea but that there is a serious difference in what representation looks like for students of the Concerned 44 and Shah.
“There is a serious juxtaposition between the principles of what the students of the Concerned 44 stand for and demanded and what Rishi is seeking to do and what is adequate representation of the student bodies’ concerns,” Myles said.
When asked to respond to this criticism, Shah remarked that he was disappointed that he hadn’t heard those sentiments until after he had already begun the process of creating the seat.
“While I hear their concerns, as student body President, we have taken extensive steps to help meet the demands of the Concerned 44 and to facilitate dialogue between administration and the students,” Shah said in a statement. “This process began before the Concerned 44, and we plan to continue this process. Having a seat on the Board of Regents will ultimately allow students to have their voice heard at a level that typically hasn’t been able to be exposed to student concerns.”
Jonathan Pinnock, a sophomore chemical engineering major who has worked with the board of regents in the past, believes that this concept is only good on paper. “I do not think that a student should be given a vote” said Pinnock. “I think that this is a good idea if a student were to give their opinion on issues to cue the board in as to what the social atmosphere and climate on campus is and student concerns.”
The role that the student will play on the Board of Regents and how this student will even be chosen is still unclear. Shah mentioned that the logistics and structure of this student role are still in the works but the end goal is clear: to have student representation on the Board of Regents.
Elizabeth Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.