The State University of New York’s (SUNY) board of trustees discussed the success of a conference held by SUNY Voice at the board’s open formal meeting at the Wang Center on May 7.
Eighteen SUNY board members and seven others attended the meeting.
SUNY Voice is an initiative to provide unique focus and support for “strengthening shared governance at the system level, at the campus level, and between and among the campuses and SUNY System Administration,” according to SUNY’s website.
The Conference on Shared Governance, which was held from April 23 to 24 in Albany, brought together faculty, students, administrators, trustees and council members to discuss how systems of shared governance can create sustainable and innovative colleges and universities within the SUNY system.
SUNY trustee Tina Good, said she is hoping that these conferences will become an annual occurrence to encourage the positive ideas of self-governance.
“It’s all about trust,” Good said. She said she believes the board can achieve positive self-governance throughout the SUNY campuses, and there must be an understanding between all the different members of a campus community to allow compromises to be made.
Good said that if there was ever an instance that trust was lost between groups or across any campus community, constituents have to understand how to regain trust amongst each other.
Diversity must be a “complimenting force behind trust,” and the best decisions must be brought to the table by diverse perspectives on all issues, Good said.
According to Good, over 150 people attended this first annual conference, and the most positive outcome was how the attendees were students, professors and faculty, as well as representatives from City University of New York.
Laura Joseph, the associate provost at SUNY Farmingdale, came to the meeting looking to take information back to SBU’s local SUNY sister college after becoming the new associate provost.
Joseph said Farmingdale has been implementing its own version of self-governance on their campus, and the campus community has responded well. There are campus-wide, open-forum discussions among all the committees and groups on campus at least twice a semester.
Jyll Yu, a freshman with an undeclared major, said she thinks implementing something similar to Farmingdale’s initiative would be useful in case there is anything that needs to be addressed on campus.
“I think it would definitely be a good idea to try it out along side with the Undergraduate Student Government,” Yu said.
Kylie Merrow, a freshman atmospheric science major, said she does not mind if there was no way to openly speak one’s mind on campus.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong at SBU,” Merrow said. “But if other students find something, I’d probably agree with them.”
Devon Maguire, a computer science major, said she does not feel like students even want to take control on campus, but that is the main issue behind more self-governance being a part of SBU’s campus community.
“The people that should be encouraging us to take apart of that aren’t putting in the effort to make that happen,” Maguire said.
Correction: May 11, 2014
An earlier version of this article incorrectly titled the SUNY conference as “Conference on Self Governance.” However, the conference was actually titled “Conference on Shared Governance.”