Staff editorial: On the Board of Trustees and enthusiasm

By The Mac Weekly

On Tuesday, MCSG representatives discussed how they were going to spend the rollover. Meanwhile, in the same room last Friday, the Board of Trustees decided how to spend a $3.7 million surplus, an amount over 45 times greater. The allocations of these surpluses are very different—the rollover comes out of unused student activity fees that student government controls, whereas college budget surpluses have generally been allocated to capital projects. But, contrasting the two serves as a reminder that the rollover is small potatoes compared to other expenditures the college makes with scarcely any student input or knowledge. This was an instance of a disconnect between the events on the Board and broader student discussions. For example, the presentation by the Investment Office on new strategies to invest the endowment included nothing of the endowment responsibility conversations that have dominated student discussion of endowment investment. Everything at the public meeting of the board was pre-determined—none of the motions garnered any discussion. The Mac Weekly staff is not arguing that the three capital projects that the $3.7 million surplus was directed towards were unimportant or poor allocations. Indeed, we hope to bring more information about what the Board of Trustees spent the surplus on in coming issues. We just don’t know enough about what the board spent on to give an accurate picture to students. And while the student members of Board committees perform a valuable service in letting us know what happened, the student body should to have direct input before decisions are made. Think back to last semester, and all the student input and discussion that went into just deciding the process for deciding how to spend the $75,000 reported rollover. Shouldn’t we have at least some real student input on the way that a $3.7 million surplus is spent by the Board before they allocate it?