The Board of Trustees should be an asset to all students, University Secretary Richard Riddell announced at the Graduate and Professional Student Council General Assembly Meeting.
The GPSC General Assembly will be responsible for electing the next Graduate Young Trustee of the Board in the Spring, Riddell said. He added that it is important that representatives understand the impact of this role.
“You’ve got to like Duke to be a good Board member,” Riddell said. “It is a lot of work.”
He added that the position of Young Trustee is incredibly valuable to the University, as they help to keep the Board aware of the interests of graduate and professional students.
“There has been a long history of cooperation between GPSC and the Board of Trustees,” Riddell said.
This year the Board will be looking extensively at the Divinity School, Riddell said. He added that the graduate schools are typically looked at on a rotating schedule.
In February, Board members are taking a retreat trip to Stanford University.
“Most Boards look at how they are doing in relation to their peers, and Stanford is a peer that we often look at,” Riddell said.
When asked for specific areas that the Board often disagrees on, he said he was not at liberty to provide details—though he noted that issues of student debt and Duke Kunshan University have lead to very deep discussion.
“It is rare that a vote is taken and there is need to record the vote numbers,” Riddell said, adding that the Board reaches consensus on most issues.
As the Board prepares to transition into a new provost—who Riddell hopes will be hired early in the winter—important issues will continue to move fluidly, Riddell said.
Board proceedings are kept confidential for 50 years, Riddell said, adding that access can only be granted to the minutes by the chairman of the Board.
He stressed that GPSC representatives must be sure to respect this confidentiality when serving on the Board’s standing committees.
In other business:
Laila Roudsari, vice president of the Engineering and Graduate Student Council, presented information on the Mahato Memorial Event.
The event honors Abhijit Mahato, a former student in the Pratt School of Engineering who was murdered in 2008.
Although the keynote speaker has not been decided upon yet, Roudsari encouraged the representatives to attend the Dec. 5 event.
A key feature of the event promotes the unity between science, engineering and the arts—a goal that Mahato valued dearly, Roudsari said. Students can submit entries to the photography competition until Oct. 15.
Yumian Deng, Trinity ’13, won last year’s photography competition with a picture—taken in a bathroom in the Kilgo Quadrangle—shows water droplets refracting light as they exit the showerhead.
The General Assembly approved representatives to fill all of the open spaces in university committees.
Student Life Co-Chair Ben Shellhorn, a second year student in the Law School, said he is working to provide events that students want to attend—including some family-friendly options.