By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Opinion: A letter from your current BOD President: Collaboration over confrontation


bryan elliot

BY Bryan Elliott

BOD President


As student government president ,I have received feedback from several students on how they feel the current ASCWU Board of Directors has represented their voices on campus and in the community.

While these students expressed satisfaction with the work that the BOD has done this year on their behalf, some were concerned that we haven’t taken a tougher stance on issues that affect students every day.

Probably the most important issue on students’ minds is the rising cost of tuition. I understand the temptation to get angry and frustrated. I also understand that as your student government it is our job first and foremost to represent you. Sometimes this requires us to stand up and confront policies that would negatively affect students, often times though it is collaboration and not confrontation that yields the best results.

Over the past year, I have found that the most valuable asset we have in negotiating with our partners in the administration is a seat at the table. We speak for  10,000 students and that carries a lot of weight. We exert this influence every day through our committees and the shared governance process.

However, the BOD can’t accomplish much that directly impacts the lives of students in a positive manner without being willing to collaborate with our campus partners.

A perfect example of this is the completion of the Central Transit project this past September. This multi-year project was spearheaded by the student government, but also strongly supported by the administration. This is especially true in regards to reviewing and revising the final contract to ensure Central and the students were getting a fair deal. However, we as a BOD also recognize there may come a time to disagree.

Earlier this year the board distributed a survey about semester conversion that over 1,700 students responded to. Over 80 percent of those students came out opposed to any potential conversion.

That is a message that if the time comes, we’ll stand up and fight, but we will do so in a manner that preserves the fundamental relationship of trust we have established with the administration.

As we begin the ASCWU 2014 Election season, candidates may be tempted to take a harder stance against the administration.

As a former candidate, I understand, but I would recommend that instead of getting angry, we all take a look at ourselves and recognize what it is we truly want to accomplish to make Central a better place.

We don’t always have to agree with the administration and the other stakeholders on our campus, but we do have to be able work together. That requires cooperation, communication and maturity – all traits that I am proud to say this year’s BOD has stood for.

I am confident that future student governments will continue building relationships and that this will lead to a better campus for all of us.

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