Columbia, SC – State Representative and Lieutenant Governor candidate Bakari Sellers, alongside Reps. Joshua Putnam (R-Anderson) and Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston), filed the H. 5152 Student Empowerment in College Governance Act, which would add two student members to each public universities’ board of trustees. According to the bill, each student trustee would be elected by the student body to serve a one-year term. The student trustee must be a full time student and they would vacate the office if he or she withdraws from school before their term expires.
In passing the legislature, South Carolina public institutions of higher education would join many others that have student members of the board of trustees, including Ohio State University, Southern Methodist University, and Indiana University.
“It is no secret that students attending public colleges and universities in South Carolina lack a meaningful voice in the governance of their school,” said Rep. Bakari Sellers. “This bill would give them a vital stake in the outcomes of their schools’ management decisions. After all, these schools exist for the betterment of students. Why not give those students a voice in the decisions their schools are making?”
Students leaders across the state applauded the bill.
“We are so excited for Representative Sellers’ bill that gives South Carolina students a voice in the important decisions their schools make each year,” said College of Charleston SGA President Ryan Spraker. “I encourage our legislative leaders to pass this common sense bill and give students a seat at the table.”
“Students at public colleges and universities in South Carolina currently have no say in the multi-million dollar decisions their schools,” said Clemson Student Government Senator Justin Smith. “Representative Sellers’ bill would give us a direct stake in the future of our universities.”
“The board of trustees is vested with the responsibility to develop our University’s educational missions, fiscal policies, and vision for our future,” said University of South Carolina Student Government Senator Gavin Smith. “Allowing the student body to be further represented by a student voice on the board of trustees will not only cultivate a learning experience for this individual, but will also ensure that the student voice is represented when making decisions that impact both our future, and the future of our University.”
A comprehensive statement in support of Representative Sellers’ bill on behalf of the last eight presidents of the College of Charleston Student Body can be read HERE.
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