Student Representative to the Board of Trustees

Almost a year and a half has passed since the position of student representative to the Board of Trustees (BoT) was first introduced. The office, held by Devora Najjar (ChE ’16) since its inception in 2013, has been the only direct connection between students and the Board. It is believed that the appointment of a student to the Board is an opportunity for student agency in the governance of the school, and as such it is a distinction that the Cooper community holds in high regard.

With Devora’s term as student representative coming to an end next year, the process to select a successor must begin now. As of March 4, the process began with nominating candidates for office. The requirement for nominees are simple:

  1. the candidate must be a student available to serve a two year term. In simpler terms, this means the candidate must be a first or second year student in the School of Engineering or Art, or up to a third year student in the School of Architecture.
  2. the candidate must collect nominations from 100 students. Of these, at least half (50 students) must be from students outside of the nominee’s academic school.
  3. nominations must be submitted to the Chris Chamberlain, Dean of Students, by March 12. After this deadline, nominations will be collected and counted to select eligible candidates.

The student body will then vote for their candidate of choice online through the Joint Student Council’s voting portal. After voting has closed, the three candidates with the highest number of votes will be referred to the Board of Trustees. Out of these three finalists, the Board will vet and select one representative at their own discretion. The new representative will be formally inducted for office in June 2015.

The Cooper Pioneer interviewed Devora Najjar, the current student representative to the Board, to understand her role and responsibilities. According to Devora, the ideal student representative is a “steward of the students” – a person who upholds the interests of all students, not only from their own school. Furthermore, she stresses that this position is “not about you as individual in the slightest.” It is critical that the student representative be impartial and objective in speaking on behalf of all of his or her constituents. “Nobody keeps telling you to go have one-to-one meetings with members of the administration, faculty, trustees.” says Devora, emphasizing the need for student-led initiative in this position.

The Board of Trustees is holding a Q&A session for interested students on March 9 at 8pm in LL101 in the New Academic Building (NAB). All interested students are strongly encouraged to attend.

For more information about the responsibilities of the student representative as well as the election procedure, please visit: http://cooper.edu/students/student-affairs/student-rep-bot

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