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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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Pape Expected to Join SUNY Board of Trustees

Will succeed NYSSA president who resigned last week

President of the Faculty Student Association, President of Sub-Board I, New York State Student Assembly Vice President, NYSSA delegate and UB student George Pape may soon add another title to his current roster: SUNY trustee.

Christopher Holland, former NYSSA president and student member of the SUNY Board of Trustees, resigned from his position Feb. 1, elevating then-Vice President Pape to the role of president and putting him next in line to fulfill the trustee position.

"I hope to be a very strong voice and advocate on a statewide level on higher education concerns," said Pape.

Pape, a junior history/political science major, said Holland left the trustee position in order to pursue graduate research in Alabama.

Holland could not be reached for comment Thursday.

As president of NYSSA, Pape has nominated past NYSSA president, and current NYSSA treasurer and UB student, Celine Traylor to the post of vice president of NYSSA. Traylor also could not be reached for comment.

Pape currently has no plans to resign any of his other positions at UB, unless a conflict of interest occurs.

"I haven't prepared anyone (to succeed me)," he said. "I pretty much have all three of those positions under wraps."

Neither the Student Association nor Pape has notified the student body of Holland's resignation or Pape's new position. The Student Association was aware of the situation last week, according to SA President Christian Oliver, but did not believe it was SA's prerogative to notify the students.

Although as president, Pape is expected to fill the role of student trustee, fellow NYSSA delegate Jennifer Brace pointed out that the board may not appoint him to the position because he was not officially voted into office. Though he did not cite that particular scenario, Pape was concerned something would go wrong before his official confirmation this weekend, one reason he was reluctant to publicize his new status.

"I didn't want a complication to arise," he said, characterizing himself as over-precautious.

Pape's co-workers in the Student Association commended his promotion.

"It's wonderful," said Brace. "It's a great thing for UB. . [He will be] making connections in the board of trustees and having our interests represented."

"I don't think you could get a better person for that position," Oliver agreed.

Oliver was responsible for Pape's appointment to the position of NYSSA delegate last fall, after student-elected delegate John Haumesser failed to return to UB and assume his duties.

Although Pape was not elected by UB students, "in the grand scheme of the way NYSSA works, it's irrelevant," said Oliver. "It needed to be done quickly."

Oliver said that non-NYSSA delegates can be appointed to executive positions but must be students at SUNY institutions. In addition, he pointed out that many of the NYSSA delegates around the state are not elected as NYSSA delegates per se, but instead are presidents of the local student association and de facto representatives.

The board-of-trustees policies, however, list the procedure as follows:

"The first representatives of each member institution shall be that institution's student government president. Additional representatives from member institutions, which exceed the 4,000 FTE [Full Time Equivalents] base enrollment, shall be duly elected annually from among and by the students of that institution through a campus-wide election in accordance with procedures promulgated by the campus student government body."

If and when he is confirmed as trustee, Pape said one of his main goals is to continue to protest the governor's proposed changes to the Tuition Assistance Program and the currently stagnant SUNY budget.

He will continue to use his office at Sub-Board I Inc. as his main base.

"I don't see this semester being a problem," Pape said of juggling his increased responsibilities. "I can see most of my weekends being spent in Albany."

Additional reporting by Contributing Editor Stefanie Alaimo.



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