Could there ever be a student on the Board of Trustees? I argued last year that this could never happen because the College would never allow it. Now, I am not so sure. Consider the section on Amendments from the constitution for the Society of Alumni:

This Constitution may be amended by affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at an annual meeting of the Society or at a special meeting called for the purpose. Amendments may be proposed by the Executive Committee or by petition signed by at least fifty voting members and submitted to the Executive Committee no fewer than sixty days prior to such meeting. Notice of the proposed amendment(s) shall be posted on the Williams College web site, and shall be given to members of the Society at least thirty days before the meeting at which the amendment(s) will be considered, in a manner determined by the Executive Committee which may include mail, email, publication in the Williams Alumni Review, and/or such other method(s) of notification as the Executive Committee determines to be necessary or advisable.

Current students are members of the Society of Alumni, so it would be trivial for them to create a proposal, gather 50 signatures and present it to the Executive Committee. What would then happen at the reunion? Who knows? I do not think that there has ever been a substantive debate at the annual meeting. It is a feel good time filled with awards and songs. Any “motions” are approved by voice vote with no discussion.

This proposal should be something simple like: “The President shall ensure that at least one of the Alumni Trustees is a current student at Williams.” Leave it to Morty to determine the method of selection, the length of the term, and so on. The “trick” here is that the Society of Alumni can not modify the terms of the College’s governing regulations. (And is there a copy of these on-line somewhere?) So, we alumni can’t say, increase the size of the Board. But we do have control over the Alumni Trustees. At least, this is how I read the constitution. Contrary opinions welcome.

I would vote against such a proposal since a student is unlikely to be a productive member of the board, but I would be in favor of such an amendment that ensured student representation of the Executive Committee.

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