Beginning earlier this week, students started a petition calling for student members of the Campus Auxiliary Services Board of Directors to be directly elected by students.
Sophomores J.T. Andrews and Michele Reitz spearheaded the effort. Andrews said that he came up with the idea to start the petition after wondering how students could, "change the system so it is more suitable to the student body."
The petition, which had 61 signatures as of Monday, argued that, "a conflict of interest exists within the CAS Board of Directors in that the Student Association, which receives a substantial amount of funding from CAS, is placed in charge of selecting the student representatives."
Andrews argued that students appointed by CAS may face an "ethical dilemma," as they may feel pressured to represent SA interests over the interests of the general student population. He claimed that SA benefits from CAS overflow funds through the college administration.
CAS Executive Director Mark Scott and SA President Brendan Quinn, however, both said that SA does not receive any funding from CAS.
"We don't get any money from CAS," said Quinn, a senior. "We are not dependent on CAS."
Scott said that he believed the petition is still a, "good exercise in helping people to understand how things get done."
The makeup of the Board of Directors is part of a contract between CAS, a not-for-profit organization, and New York State. Scott and Quinn said that in the past, student representatives were directly elected, but that nobody ran for those positions for years, which made it difficult for the board to meet voting quorums.
To fix that problem, SA began directly appointing students to the positions.
"I'm amenable to working it out a different way, if that's what students want," Quinn said.
He said that while past SA-appointed representatives have not necessarily had any affiliation with SA, he thinks the issue of how to best represent student needs is worthy of discussion.
"If people have concerns, they need to go to SA…with an agenda and proposed solutions," Scott said. He said he is open to talking directly with concerned students.
Quinn also expressed a desire that students would bring issues to SA more often.
A table for the petition was held outside of Milne Library on Monday and will be out again on Friday, March 7 from 12:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.
"Students should have more of a say in where their money goes," said freshman Alex Ruch, who signed the petition.