Kioni Marshall ’22 was elected to serve as a Student Representative to the board of trustees alongside the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Leadership Board at the WSA meeting on Sunday, Feb. 23. She will take on the role at the next Board of Trustees meeting this weekend and serve as a student representative until the end of this academic year.
Marshall is the fifth Student Representative selected for this position since the WSA passed a resolution in May 2015 removing the requirement that all candidates must be WSA senators, opening the application to all students at the University. As a representative, Marshall will be a voting member on one of the following board of trustees committees: Campus Affairs, Finance, or University Relations.
“I wanted to make sure that I got this position so that I can help myself, the students in this community, the community in general, the faculty members, and the administration all have better communication to make for better cooperation,” Marshall said.
The board of trustees is the governing body of the University. Recently, they have awarded promotions and tenure to faculty, and handled decisions about the University’s divestment from the oil and gas industries.
Marshall is the financial contact for Ujamaa, Wesleyan’s Black Student Union, which she has been involved in since her first year. She is currently working on funding and planning Black History Month 2021 and recently met with President Roth to discuss the University’s involvement in that planning process.
Additionally, Marshall is working to create a coalition between student identity groups at the University to streamline communication between members, leaders, and the University administration. She hopes that this coalition will assist her in advocating for as many students as possible in board of trustees meetings.
Besides Marshall, two other students also ran for the position.
Calia Christie ’22 is a sophomore who applied for the position in hopes of collaborating with the board of trustees in order to make the Wesleyan community more accessible for all students and to bridge the gap between the Wesleyan and Middletown communities.
“I want to discuss programs, initiatives, and projects that will catalyze a conversation between Middletown and Wesleyan, bringing our communities together,” Christie wrote in her statement, which was read aloud in the WSA meeting Sunday by WSA Chief of Staff Adam Hickey ’22. “This means working with Wesleyan initiatives such as Traverse Square and Cardinal Kids, as well as Middletown organizations such as NEAT [North End Action Team] and Middletown forums. This community collaboration will foster an appetite for engagement among both communities.”
The other student who applied for the position is a senior involved with United Student/Labor Action Coalition (USLAC), WesDivest, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Wesleyan Jewish Community. They ran for the position to hold the Board of Trustees accountable to the needs of the campus, specifically relating to climate change, workers on campus, and racial and religious intolerance.
“Given that the Wesleyan’s website states the board is expected to quote, adhere to the highest ethical standards, I view Student Representation on the board as an avenue to holding board members accountable to increase socio-economic inclusion in the community,” they said.
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