The Student Trustee Election Committee will soon run a special election for a new Undergraduate Student Trustee.
The University of Connecticut’s Undergraduate Student Trustee, Damani Douglas, recently stepped down from the position, which he has held since the beginning of the academic year.
As a position that serves on the university’s Board of Trustees (BoT), the Undergraduate Student Trustee represents all students from Storrs and the regional campuses, but does not have any affiliation with Storrs USG or a student government of any other campus, according to Trustee Student Organization Support Director Krista O’Brien.
“The Undergraduate Trustee represents all undergraduate students across all campuses on the Board of Trustees [and] is not connected to the Storrs’ Undergraduate Student Government or any other student government at the regional campuses,” O’Brien said in an email.
Josh Crow, UConn’s current Graduate Student Trustee, clarified in an email that while the undergraduate trustee will often work alongside USG, the position represents a different group.
“USG does not currently have a representative on the board and it never has,” said Crow. “The undergraduate Trustee represents all undergraduates across all campuses, while USG represents Storrs undergrads. While the undergraduate Trustee has traditionally enjoyed a strong working relationship with USG the past few years, they represent different groups and, ultimately, the undergrad Trustee does not answer to USG or vice versa.”
When asked about the future of the vacant position, Crow said an election will take place from Feb. 28 through March 2, the same time period in which student government elections are to be held.
“In terms of what happens next, a special election has been convened to fill the role of Undergrad Trustee,” Crow added. “The candidate with the most votes will assume the office immediately, following certification of the vote.”
According to O’Brien, who chairs the Student Trustee Election Committee overseeing the election, there are four candidates for the position. The winner will be expected to hold the position for the remainder of the term (until July 2023) as well as the next term, which has previously been determined to last two years (from July 2023 to June 2025).
The four candidates are Aanya Mehta, Eric Meade, John Durham and Leo Gold, O’Brien said. More information about the candidates can be found on UConn’s elections website.
When asked about who will represent the undergraduate student body in place of the student trustee at this week’s BoT meeting, Crow said the position will remain unfilled for this meeting but should not result in any issues concerning advocacy of undergraduates.
“[In regard to] who will represent undergrad students in the meantime, the position of Undergraduate Trustee will only be unfilled for one full Board meeting, so there should not be a significant interruption in advocacy for undergraduates,” Crow said.
USG President Mason Holland said that since BoT meetings are open to public comment, students are encouraged to represent themselves to the Board.
“As the BoT meetings are open for public attendance and comment, we highly encourage students to show up and to represent themselves and their interests to the board,” Holland wrote in an email. “When the new trustee gets elected, they’ll be appointed immediately. USG and the undergraduate student body will have a new representative very soon.”