@ Board of Trustees: Please Listen

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Last week, members of the Board of Trustees (BOT) were on campus for meetings, presentations and the celebration of the Campaign for DePauw. But how much time did they spend with students? 

We can’t say they didn’t spend any. They heard a 15 minute presentation from DePauw Student Government and mingled with students at the campaign celebration dinner and other organized events. 

However, is that enough time to understand the needs of the very students they are supposed to be stewarding the university for?

The Board of Trustees as a whole needs to make itself more visible and accessible to students, faculty and staff. 

We have some suggestions.

When the Board is on campus, they should show up to club meetings, sit with groups of students in Hoover during lunch or host an open forum. They can send out polls and surveys, or stop and talk to students walking to Roy, Julian or even the gym. 

There are 37 of you who vote. Split up, interact with more members of the community and actively listen.

However, first you need to make it clear that you’re open to hearing from the DePauw community.

At this week’s faculty meeting, the line of communication between faculty and the board was discussed. According to the bylaws, the president’s office is the only official channel of communication between the board and the campus community. 

The bylaws state, “The President shall be the authorized channel for official communications and recommendations between the faculty and the Board, between the administrative officers and the Board and between students and the Board.”

Communication is about both quantity and quality. Who’s voices haven’t been raised and empowered enough? Who aren’t you hearing from? 

You need to do more than talk to the president, members of student government, and a handful of leaders on campus in order to know what is going on at DePauw because these voices are not representative of all 1900+ students of the university. 

We get it. Many of you live far away and have jobs outside of these duties. Your schedules while you’re here are already packed. But maybe it’s time to rethink how some of your time visiting DePauw’s campus is spent.

Only with open and frequent communication amongst all of us will we be able to truly understand DePauw.