University News

Corporation trustees speak to UCS to increase transparency

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2012

Alison Cohen ’09 and Eric Rodriguez ’08, the two current young alumni trustees of the Corporation, spoke to the Undergraduate Council of Students last night about financial aid, internationalization and the Corporation’s past and future initiatives.

Though the Corporation has not met yet this semester, Cohen and Rodriguez fielded questions and comments from the UCS general body members. Rodriguez and Cohen presented to UCS as part of the Corporation’s ongoing efforts to increase transparency.

UCS Communications Chair Kyra Mungia ’13 asked what each of the trustees would like to see happen during their tenure as young alumni trustees. Cohen described her role as more of a conduit for communication between students and the Corporation.

The greatest priority is to have an “ear to the ground,” Rodriguez added.

Rodriguez and Cohen are the second and third young alumni trustees to be elected to the Corporation. This position was created to give the body a more accurate, on-the-ground perspective of the undergraduate experience.

Rodriguez also highlighted some of the Corporation’s past initiatives.

“We divested, that’s amazing,” he said, referring to the University’s decision to cease investing in businesses that have supported the Sudanese government. “We’re doing something that, you know, some schools are falling behind on.”

The Office of Military and Veterans’ Affairs was also established by the Corporation in response to the conflict and public discussions about the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Rodriguez said. 

While the military has not been fully embraced as a campus presence, it has not been entirely shut out, since students have expressed a desire to provide resources for those who have served or wish to do so.

Abby Braiman ’15, chair of the Committee for Admissions and Student Services, asked about efforts to improve financial aid and socioeconomic and international diversity.

“Realistically speaking, it is a source of revenue,” Rodriguez said of the current need-aware financial policy for international students.

The University has a strong track record of supporting financial aid, even increasing it in the midst of the recent economic crisis, especially in comparison to peer institutions, Rodriguez said. For example, schools in the University of California and University of Texas systems increased fees last year. Brown similarly raised school fees, but it simultaneously increased its financial aid.

Much of their work involves financially sensitive information and confidentiality issues “not just in the investment scenario but in all these different domains,” Cohen said.

Despite that, the Corporation is very concerned with the student perspective, Rodriguez said. 

“They’re not a perfect institution by any sort of stretch of the imagination,” Rodriguez said. But “they really do care about you guys,” he added.

After the trustees’ presentations, Braiman updated the council about her ongoing efforts with the Student Advocate Program.

“The structure is pretty solidified,” she said. Her committee is now working to ensure that the program functions within Brown’s sphere, having been adapted from similar programs at other universities.

Last week’s student activities fee proposal was presented to the Undergraduate Resource Committee Monday, said Alex Kaplan ’14, Student Activities Committee chair. The outcome of the proposal will be revealed in February.

One Comment

  1. The Corporation must tell the Admissions Director and the Deans of College to expel students who cheated in their applications, and therefore are false Brown Students. Some of those cheaters have been identified, but nobody has done anything about them. I do hope that there is backbone somewhere in Brown University.

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