Students and faculty now have permanent positions as observers on the Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees approved changes to the group’s bylaws earlier this month making the observational seats held by the president of the Student Association and the executive chair of the Faculty Association permanent. Leaders said officially creating the observational seats by including them in the bylaws was a symbol of the board’s willingness to work closely with the wider GW community.
“The board approved bylaw amendments codifying the observer status of the SA president and the chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee,” officials said in a press release earlier this month.
The language of the bylaws has not yet been made available online.
Ashley Le, the president of the SA, said she was “encouraged” by the change to the bylaws because the move represents progress in the push to include more students in the University’s top decisions.
SA leaders began advocacy efforts to include a student leader on the board in 2016. Trustees ultimately decided not to create a full voting member position but allowed delegates to the board and added students to task forces.
“It’s not just a win for the Student Association but a win for the student body,” Le said. “They are represented in every part of the decision-making process.”
Sylvia Marotta-Walters, the executive chair of the Faculty Senate, said Nelson Carbonell, the chair of the board, made it clear that he wanted to involve more faculty in the board’s decision-making processes when he invited her to sit on the board two years ago. She said it came as no surprise that he wanted to expand the role by changing the bylaws.
She said faculty have always had the opportunity to interact with the board, but formalizing the role represents a dedication to collaboration between faculty and administrators.
“It is another avenue of doing shared governance,” she said. “We are three legs to the stool – the trustees, University administration and faculty.”