The GW Board of Trustees meets three times a year to discuss and approve policies pertinent to all aspects of GW academics and student life. The 35-member panel is responsible for approving new policies ranging from tuition hikes, to land purchases, to a wide range of academic issues. But despite the fact that its decisions directly affect the student body, virtually no students are permitted to sit in on its proceedings.
Currently, the only students allowed to sit in on the meetings are the Student Association president and media representatives from campus newspapers. Even this representation is restricted, given that these individuals are authorized to sit in on only the public sessions, during which little business is discussed – they are not permitted to attend the executive, closed sessions.
Administrators often attribute this policy to a lack of an appropriate venue to accommodate students, or student disinterest in the proceedings, despite requests for more student invitations. The administration could easily remedy both caveats by installing a video feed to be viewed in J Street, similar to the one used when Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke on campus last semester.
Not affording students the ability to view the Board’s proceedings runs contrary to a University administration that prides itself on being accessible to students. Allowing students to sit in on proceedings that directly affect them would be a positive step in empowering them to take a part in their educational future.