SGA Votes No Confidence in Chairman Meyer
With a near unanimous decision, Suffolk’s Student Government Association voted no confidence in Chairman Andrew Meyer, following concerns the Board of Trustees’ recent actions.
The SGA meeting Thursday afternoon focused heavily on the questionable governance of the Board and the recent controversy over allegations the Board will be firing President Margaret McKenna. While McKenna’s fate was of the utmost concern, the issue at the forefront of the meeting was the necessary to see a change in the Board’s operations. Among the concerns were the lack of communication between students and the board, conflicts of interest with the Reagan Communications firm (whose VP sits on Suffolk’s Board), and the Board’s bylaws, which have been noted by national school accreditation resource NEASC as being outdated.
“It’s not five presidents in five years that is the problem,” said sophomore Jonathan McTague, a senator of the SGA. “It is the Board of Trustees.
After an introduction by SGA president Colin Loiselle, Housing and Facilities Committee Chair Victoria Ireton presented a resolution demanding the resignation or removal of Meyer from the Board of Trustees. This resolution passed and was sent to the Board.
Following this, sophomore senator Levi Smith addressed the crowd with a personal letter entitled “An Open Letter from a Concerned Student”, expressing in a displeasured yet snarky tone concerns against the board. These concerns would be echoed by speakers later in the meeting.
“Trust is gone,” recited Smith. “The lack of transparency is starting to dissipate, only because of recent media releases and the dirty laundry that has been spread far and wide. Most Suffolk community members do their dirty laundry in the overpriced basement in each of the dorms.”
Smith concluded with a bold statement to the Board.
“If you are not a part of President McKenna’s solution, you are in fact a part of the problem,” he proclaimed.
Upon the transition of the meeting to an open forum, Jerad Cain, a member of the Alumni for the Integrity of Suffolk University and cofounder of the Suffolk Voice, spoke up. He announced that Friday’s copy of the Boston Globe will be running a half page ad sponsored by the organization in retort to the Board. It was noted that the ad will feature the hashtag #saveoursuffolk. Cain praised the SGA senate as well as other passionate students for taking action against the board and being so impassioned about these issues.
Other notable speakers included community organizer Tiffany Corin Martinez, who clarified to the press about the rally occurring Friday at noon in the 73 Tremont lobby, saying that this event is to be referred to as a rally rather than a protest. This sentiment was shared by the SGA.
The SGA has sent their resolution and a letter explaining the vote of no confidence to the Board. Now they await a response to see what further action they must take to see change come to the Board.
As SGA held their vote of no confidence, five members of the Alumni for the Integrity of Suffolk University met with two members of the Board of Trustees to voice their concerns and requests.
“We ask that Chairman Andrew Meyer and his executive committee step down from their positions, and that all trustees with affiliations to Regan Communications Group also step down,” read a press release from the organization. “In the interests of maintaining stability for the day-to-day operations of Suffolk, we ask that President Margaret McKenna maintain her position.”
The alumni also asked the board to revise their bylaws, called for young alumni’s interests to be represented at the trustee level, and asked all business associations and trustee relationships with Reagan Communications group be investigated by a third party.
In response to student, alumni, and faculty outreach, President McKenna and Chairman Meyer have met to discuss a proposal to alleviate community concerns.
“President McKenna and Chairman Meyer have heard the voices of the members of the Suffolk community, as well as members of the wider community who care so deeply about the future of Suffolk University,” wrote Greg Gatlin, Vice President of Communications. “McKenna and Meyer have come together in good faith in an effort to resolve the issues in the best interests of the University.”
The Board of Trustees will meet Friday afternoon, at the same time students plan to rally in support of university solidarity.