A new California State University student representative was appointed this month by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sit on the CSU Board of Trustees.
Andrew LaFlamme, CSU Stanislaus A.S. external vice president and business management graduate student will act as the non-voting student member on the board for Spring 2006, said Mona Mohammadi, vice chair of external affairs of the California State Student Association. He will be trained by Corey Jackson, the current voting representative from CSU San Bernardino.
As a graduate student, LaFlamme said he believes his experience as an undergraduate helped prepare him for the role.
There are two student representatives on the Board of Trustees, one non-voting and one voting. The voting member trains the non-voting member, who takes over the voting member’s position after his or her term is over.
“I felt I had reached a point where I could assume such a position effectively,” said LaFlamme.
LaFlamme said he’s been attending CSU meetings in October 2005, trying to keep himself up to date on current issues.
LaFlamme’s term as the voting representative will begin at the end of this semester, when Jackson’s term is completed.
LaFlamme, said he’s currently going through orientation, getting in touch with other trustees and working with the chancellor’s office.
“I’m working really hard to make sure that I correctly gauge the interests of the students I represent,” LaFlamme said, “An important goal of mine is to try to strengthen the communication between the students and the Board of Trustees.”
Mohammadi said the CSSA held its regular search for a student to fill the non-voting position during Spring 2005, but after submitting the chosen candidates to the governor, he reviewed them and requested they hold another search and find new candidates.
Mohammadi said the governor did not specify a reason for his request.
The second search occurred in Fall 2005, and along with LaFlamme, other nominees, included Tylor Middlestadt from California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, and Joaquin Ortega from San Diego State.
Even with the delay of the appointment, Mohammadi said, “In the end we have a great student trustee.”
The non-voting member is trained by the voting member to replace him or her. Since LaFlamme was appointed later than usual, he will only have the remainder of this semester to be trained.
The CSSA conducted its usual search this semester for the Fall 2006 non-voting member who will be trained by LaFlamme and replace him in Fall 2007, Mohammadi said.
The applications were due Feb. 22, and will be reviewed at the annual CSSA California Higher Education Student Summit in Sacramento from March 3-6, where leadership workshops are also offered.
CSUN’s Associated Students President Chad Charton applied this semester and said the job was the “next step for (him).”
Charton, who also applied last spring, but voluntarily pulled himself out of the running, said that the position is “student advocacy at its finest.”
CSUN student Steven Vanover, who also applied during Spring 2005, has applied this Spring also, Charton said.
Mahammadi said all the applications are reviewed by the CSSA Initial Review Board, which she chairs. During the review, Mohammadi said she and the four CSU students who compose the review board look for applicants that meet the minimum requirements.
The board also looks at whether the candidate understands the role and scope of the trustee position, such as “current battles,” in the CSU system, she said.
Applicants’ knowledge of the role “comes through in their essays,” Mohammadi said.
Minimum requirements include having junior status by the time the student’s term begins, and at least a 2.0 grade point average.
After the review, Mohammadi said the review board submits its candidates to the President’s Interview Council that consists of all 23 CSU Associated Students Incorporated presidents. The interviews will take place at the CSSA meeting in Fresno from April 21-23.
The one year of training and one year of voting give both student representatives two-year terms.
Jennifer Balao can be reached at email@example.com.