By JEAN-CARLOS ARENAS
The Undergraduate Student Government was asked by the University’s Priorities Committee on March 22 to nominate several students for the committee. USG president Shawon Jackson ’15 and USG vice president Carmina Mancenon ’14 are responsible for reviewing the applications, conducting interviews of finalists and selecting which individuals USG will recommend for consideration by the Priorities Committee.
The Priorities Committee makes recommendations to the University president about decisions that affect the University’s operating budget, such as those regarding tuition, room and board, and staff and faculty salary pools. Members of the Priorities Committee are expected to attend approximately hour-and-a-half-long meetings that take place twice a week from mid-October to mid-January.
USG received 15 applications and selected seven finalists to be interviewed. Final decisions will be sent to both the finalists and the Priorities Committee by this Friday, according to Jackson.
Last year, more than 70 students were nominated to the Priorities Committee by USG members, staff and faculty, according to Secretary to the Priorities Committee Aly Kassam-Remtulla, who is also the associate director for academic planning and institutional diversity. USG nominated four of these candidates, and one of them, Gavin Schlissel ’13, was ultimately chosen to join the committee, according to former USG president Bruce Easop ’13.
“We’re looking for students who are representative of the student body,” Kassam-Remtulla said. “Our goal is to really bring as diverse a group of students as we can to the table.”
The open application process, which allows all students to apply for USG nomination to the committee, started last year under the leadership of Easop, according to Kassam-Remtulla. “Previously, USG just picked people, but they hadn’t sent out a call for nominations,” he added.
The Priorities Committee contacts a number of stakeholders on campus, some of whom include administrators and the USG president, for nominations every year, Jackson said.
“Once I received that request, I decided to send out an application to the student body so we could give as many students the opportunity to receive a nomination, and that’s kind of following the transparent model that USG has been taking on, which Bruce did last year as well,” Jackson said.
The Priorities Committee is chaired by the Provost and includes the Dean of the Faculty, the Executive Vice President, the Treasurer, six faculty members, four undergraduate students, two graduate students and one other member.
“We find it really valuable to have undergraduates on the committee … It makes our discussions much richer,” Kassam-Remtulla said.
Mancenon identified three important characteristics that she and Jackson have been looking for in candidates.
“First is a very strong work ethic. Second is the ability to speak with administrators because the Priorities Committee is comprised primarily by administrators. The third is being able to critically analyze situations, understanding the nuances of making large, important campus decisions,” she said.