The Student Government Association (SGA) has shifted its approach to gaining student representation on the University’s Board of Regents.
After failing to gain a permanent seat for students or faculty, SGA President Rishi Shah says that he will now push for a student seat on the Student Affairs Subcommittee of the Board, as it most directly affects students.
“Through conversation with various members of the BOR, a past Seton Hall President and members of administration, it is clear that there is hesitation towards allowing students and even faculty in on such high level meetings,” Shah said. “We realize this hesitation and want to prove that student input is highly valuable in decision making. This can be done by incorporating student voices on the one committee of the BOR, the Student Affairs Sub-Committee.”
This change comes a year after Interim Provost Karen Boroff said that a permanent student seat on Seton Hall’s governing board was not feasible, especially considering that the faculty also does not have representation.
In November, the SGA drafted a letter outlining how the university falls behind other universities in student representation. The draft, written by a group of nine SGA members, including Shah, contained data on 18 other universities deemed comparable to Seton Hall based on a combination of religious affiliation, private status, and regionality.
“Seton Hall University, compared to other leading universities in our community, has an opportunity to incorporate shared governance, shared planning, and shared responsibility in the existing structure of the Board of Regents,” read the Executive Statement of the report, coined “The Regents Report.”
The document, dated Oct. 28, recommended that the board add a voting student and faculty member to the group.
Apparently facing yet another setback after meeting with President Nyre, Shah hopes to gain a voting student seat on the Board after obtaining a seat in the Student Affairs Subcommittee.
“For us it would be the Student Affairs portion of the Board of Regents and aim for standing seats, meaning we sit through the whole meeting, we are official members and we get to join in discussions,” Shah said at an SGA meeting on Feb. 17. “That would be the best route to prove that our voices are actually important in these discussions and valuable and from there we can possibly move forward and ask for a full time seat on the actual board.”
Shah has been pushing for student representation on the Board since he was elected president of SGA in 2018.
“I have always believed in having student representation on any governing board since my freshman year,” Shah said. “I started officially pursuing this during my term as President.”
It is unclear what role a theoretical student seat will have on the Student Affairs Committee.
Whatever happens with this initiative will likely be determined by the next SGA administration, as the next Board of Regents meeting is after Shah’s term ends on March 30.
Daniel O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.