The Corporation will set aside space in its membership for young alums for the first time later this year, Chancellor Thomas Tisch '76 told the Brown University Community Council Tuesday.
The University's highest governing body will consider — and, Tisch said, likely approve — a proposal to create "a new class of young alumni trustees" at its May meeting, he said. It will also vote on unsealing its official minutes sooner than under the current policy, he said.
Only alums less than seven years removed from their studies will be eligible for a young alum position, Tisch said. Though the proposal does not specify the number of young trustees, Tisch said, he estimated that two or three of the Corporation's 54 members would be recent alums at any given time.
A second proposal, which recommends that Corporation records be released 25 years after their creation instead of 50, will also be presented in May, Tisch said. If passed, the 25-year lag would be comparable to the shortest such waiting period observed by Brown's peer institutions, Tisch said.
The more expedient release of minutes follows the creation of a new Corporation Web site in February, and adds to recent efforts to improve communication by the Corporation, said Russell Carey '91 MA'06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance.
Tisch said the Corporation began discussing young alum membership following a lunch with Undergraduate Council of Students leadership last year.
UCS President Brian Becker '09 called Tisch's announcement about the young alum positions "incredibly exciting news."
The process of getting UCS' idea to the Corporation's leadership was "a really great example of how receptive the Brown administration and governance is to student ideas," he said.
The most recent undergraduate class currently represented on the Corporation is the class of 1992.
Tisch said the Corporation has not included an alum less than a decade removed from Brown since 1938.
"We wanted to make sure we had voices in the Corporation room who were very close to students," he said.
Mike da Cruz '09, a member of Students for a Democratic Society — a group that has lobbied for increased Corporation transparency — said he did not think the proposal went far enough.
"Brown is here for the students, and the students are what make Brown a functional institution," he said. "Giving that voice to one person under the age of 30 is the epitome of ‘tokenization.'"
The Corporation is made up of 12 fellows and 42 trustees. Of the 42 trustees, 14 are elected by alums in voting overseen by the Brown Alumni Association.
Young trustees would be elected in the same manner, Tisch said.
Candidates would be selected for their experience and leadership on campus and would be expected to bring knowledge and skills representative of the student experience, he said.
Tisch said he expects the first young trustee to begin service July 1, with a second to be selected in the next year.
Younger Corporation members who have experience with new Internet technologies will bring with them a set of skills currently lacking within the Corporation, he said, citing the increasing importance of social hubs like Facebook and Twitter.
"There's a lot of power in these capabilities," he said. "Like any organization, we have to find ways to find our place and work with it in a positive way."
Following the completion of their three-year terms, young alums would have the possibility of remaining on the Corporation, Tisch said.
— With additional reporting by Joanna Wohlmuth and Ben Schreckinger