Student trustee candidates debate for position

By Tara Kulash

Candidates for the SIU student trustee position debated Monday night in the Student Center, where they discussed how they would represent the university.

Of the two SIU student trustee positions for the SIU Board of Trustees, which is in charge of governance and policy, one position is vacant. One student, Jeffry Harrison, represents Edwardsville, and the other represents Carbondale.

As a trustee, the student will give input and opinions to the board on behalf of the student body.


Only one student trustee is allowed to vote, however, and next year Edwardsville will have the vote, leaving the Carbondale trustee with a voice but no vote.

The trustee will hold the postion from May 2012 through June 20, 2013.

The candidates are Tyler Chance, a junior from West Frankfort studying political science; Jesse Cler, a junior from Penfield studying agribusiness economics and plant and soil sciences; and Geoff Grammer, a second-year law student from Alton.

The candidates each had two minutes to answer questions and 30 seconds to rebutt other candidates’ responses.

Cler said he wants to make the university more marketable and wants it to have an identity and reputation, which he said it lacks now.

Chance said he disagreed because the university has already spent a large amount of money on a marketing campaign, and it should be left alone to run its course.

Grammer said he wants the position because he thinks the student body needs to be more unified, and he thinks he can bring students together.

Chance said he would be accessible to students. He said he would meet with representatives of every college and organization at least once a week, if not more.

He said he also would work to keep tuition and student fees from rising.

“This school should be accessible for everyone, and it should be affordable,” Chance said.

Grammer said he agreed, and he would try to do the same, if elected, when the board votes on the tuition raise this summer.

“If elected, I’d vote no,” he said.

Cler, however, said he thinks it’s necessary for the university to raise tuition and student fees every year, just like every other university.

Chance’s rebuttal was that the university could immensely improve recruitment if it had the same tuition cost two years in a row.

As student trustee, Cler said he would lobby for money for the university from the state. He said he can also fill the gap between administration and students. He meets with administrators on a regular basis because of positions he holds on campus, he said, and will continue to do so.

Grammer said he thinks the university’s housing and food options should be a main priority, because many potential students weigh them heavily when they choose an institution. Chance said he agreed, and he thinks there should be more small group housing on campus, whether it be for Greek life or other organizations or majors.

While Cler said he agreed food and housing are important, he noted the university uses a lot of food from the SIU farms, which is organic, and there are already plans in place for smaller dorms by the Brush Towers.

Grammer said he thinks his greatest strength as a candidate is that he attended a different university for his undergraduate degree. He said because he’s been to two universities, he knows what works and what doesn’t work for a university. Grammer hasn’t had a chance to be as active on campus as the other two candidates, he said, but he would give his full attention to the trustee position.

Cler is on the executive board for Up ‘Til Dawn, is the activities chair for his fraternity and is a candidate for Inter-Greek Council president, which will be voted on Tuesday.

Chance said he has been president of the Interfraternity Council and vice president of the Inter-Greek Council. He said he would devote all of his attention to the trustee position, but as a previous vice president for the council, he knows Cler would not have time to be a trustee if he becomes president of the council. Cler said he disagreed.

“I’m very good at time management. I’ve done it through all my other activities and councils, so I think I’m prepared,” Cler said.

Adrian Miller, a freshman from Carbondale studying political science and an Undergraduate Student Government senator, asked the candidates how they plan to make a difference when they won’t a have a vote next year.

All three candidates agreed it will be important to work with the other trustee so Carbondale’s agenda can move forward.