Aldo Guerrero: "Hostile" Letter to the Board of Trustees
To Whom It May Concern:
As a student at Montclair State, I am writing this letter to express my concerns on a couple of issues that I have on how these Board meetings are conducted: 1) Despite being called a “public session,” public input is not allowed. 2) The Board does not provide any significant dialogue during these meetings. Rather, there is only a brief general discussions followed by motions that are all unanimously passed. Everyone goes home after that.
What exactly is the point of holding public meetings if every single motion is unanimously passed with absolutely no dialogue in front of the public? What does the public gain from merely observing all of this? I am confident that the public would want to hear more specifics and actual dialogue about these motions and strategic plans. Instead, the public gets to hear the President consistently blame the state for not meeting its financial obligations and then she received a bonus. How does one receive a contractual bonus along with other perks for blaming the state, freezing faculty pay, raising tuition on students every year, and using money to build a bunch of “pretty” buildings for eye candy purposes and bragging rights? Did the public have a say on any of her contractual perks? Of course they did not because they are not allowed to speak in public in front of the Board.
Another thing: The President called one of my friends “hostile” and accused her of trying to “make enemies” with this Board after sending a letter expressing her disgust of how these vague meetings are conducted. I truly do not understand how asking for more publicity and specifics on the Board agenda is considered “hostile.” The perceived “hostility” was actually legitimate frustration on how unclear the Board agenda is. To merely play her letter off as “hostile” and proceeding to not properly address her is by no means productive. Perhaps there would be less “hostile” letters if the Board would have actual PUBLIC dialogue about these motions and allow the PUBLIC to speak on the issues that concern them.
I expect to receive a response saying that I should express my concerns to the student trustees. However, writing a letter to the student trustee is not the same as speaking in public. I will have you know that the Student Report in the last Board meeting failed to address the record number of sexual harassments and assaults on campus. Every student on campus is aware about this problem and there was no reason for Mr. Aronoff (a student himself) to exclude that from his report. Instead, the Board heard about the successes of Homecoming and the school’s soccer team. Why is it that only the positives are fed to the Board members? That makes them believe that everything is quite good here at Montclair State. Also, the SGA President has been absent in the last few meetings. No substitute was sent in (not even to observe). Are you starting to see now how there is lack of student representation in the Board? Are you starting to see now why the public should be allowed to speak in these meetings? If the Board is going to continue unanimously passing motion after motion after talking about them behind closed doors, then there should be no reason as to why the public should not be able to provide their input. Out of all the members on the board (which includes the student “representatives”), only the public is well-informed about the issues that concern Montclair State University. And only the public can best inform the Board of Trustees about those issues. Thank you for your time.