Elected student leaders from SUNY Binghamton and the SUNY Student Assembly have called upon Congressman Hakeem Jeffries to support their demand to be participants and representatives on the Chancellor Search Committee.
In an open letter addressed to Jeffries on April 13, the students expressed their disappointment in the SUNY Board of Trustees which they say has failed to include student representatives and transparent dialogue in the process of considering candidates for Chancellor of the State University of New York.
Instead, student representatives say their involvement has been relegated to the furthest and last possible end of the process and will only be included when 2-3 finalists come before the entire Board of Trustees – or the “Executive Search Committee”.
On Friday, April 8 the Student Assembly gave the Board of Trustees a midterm grade of “F” as they continue to work behind closed doors, against the needs of students, and ignore those directly impacted by their calculated decision making.
“A structure has been put in order to prevent student representation on the search committee itself. This clearly demonstrates SUNY’s viewpoint of students as second-class citizens,” the letter read. “A search committee formed to select a Chancellor without student representation is in direct opposition to values such as diversity and inclusion which SUNY claims to uphold.”
However, SUNY did not agree with the claim that they had excluded students from the dialogue, and that students were indeed involved in the Chancellor Search Committee.
“The search committee includes key stakeholders from across the SUNY community and – for the first time in the history of past searches – they are advised by inclusive and robust workgroups, one of which is exclusively made up of students and alumni representing the holistic SUNY system,” SUNY Press Secretary Holly Liapis said to amNew York. “This approach has added more student voices and access to this undertaking than ever before.”
The students and SUNY Student Assembly have demanded that Congressman Jeffries support their desire for representation during the Chancellor selection process, as well as demanding that Jeffries resign from his own position from the Chancellor Search Committee if their needs aren’t met.
“Right now we face a situation of taxation without representation as we represent the tuition and fee paying students of our own University,” the letter continued. “We know of your long-standing commitment to social justice and deeply value your leadership as an alumnus of SUNY Binghamton. We know that you would be shocked to learn that the search committee you were appointed to excludes student representation.”
Other major public institutions like the City University of New York (CUNY) have adopted Chancellor Search Committee guidelines that require student representation throughout the process of Chancellor selection, which is exactly what the SUNY Student Assembly wishes SUNY to adopt.
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 1.4 million students of the State University of New York and is comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses.
At the time of publication Congressman Jeffries has not responded to requests for comment.
Last updated 4/13/2022 2:35 pm