Board bylaw amendments would remove voting power from trustees

In Werth Tower, the Board of Trustees meets on Wednesday morning. They talked about the budget and events happening in UConn like HuskyThon.2/21/2018 Board of Trustees. (Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut Board of Trustees propose change to bylaws, allowing chairman to appoint committee chairs and call for special and emergency meetings with no votes needed from the other board members, according to the change draft presented in the Oct. 31. Board meeting agenda.

As well, the bylaw amendments would allow for additional changes to the bylaws to be announced at any given meeting, and then voted on at any given meeting instead of the meeting immediately following, according to the change draft.

Current bylaws state that committee chairs must be voted in by board members, with the proposed changes allowing for the chairman to simply appoint them. The practice of voting in chairs, however, has not been in place for a few years, said graduate student trustee Samuel Surowitz.

“I think that the proposed bylaws amend are undemocratic,” Surowitz said. “The chairs need to be elected, and recently this hasn't happened at UConn. This is a longstanding practice despite the bylaw requirements that are in effect.”

Additional changes would mean special meetings can simply be set “when the chairman deems necessary,” according to the draft, and wouldn’t require consent of at least five board members, Surowitz said. He added that the consent of five members poses no issue, and would not hinder any intention for a needed special or emergency meeting.

“Convincing five members of the board should be easy,” Surowitz said. “If you cannot convince five members, then that would be concerning.”

The proposed changes include eliminating the requirement for further amendments to the bylaws to be voted on at the very next board meeting, according to the draft. Instead, the amendment states the proposed changes can be voted on at any meeting following the announced changes, which Surowitz said is unfair to those who wish to attend meetings concerning bylaw changes.

“It makes sense that members of the public should be given clear notice when existing changes will be made,” Surowtiz said. “The current mode [of voting at the following meeting] is pretty standard.

The changes will be voted on during the next Board of Trustees meeting, which has been rescheduled from Wednesday, Dec. 12 to an unspecified date. It is unclear if the meeting will be held when students are still on campus during finals week.

The meeting has been rescheduled so there will be a quorum (enough members) for voting, said UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.


Marlese Lessing is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at marlese.lessing@uconn.edu. She tweets @marlese_lessing.