Editorial: New position demands skill

As major decision-making control of USF shifts from the now-defunct Board of Regents to a new local Board of Trustees, responsibilities are increasing for many leaders statewide.

The student body president, for example, has been handed vastly increased responsibility. Next year, when students vote for a new student body president, they need to understand the changing duties of that position. Their only representation on the Board of Trustees is at stake.

A last minute addition to the restructuring bill gave the student body president of every university a voting position on each school’s Board of Trustees. Shortly after student body president Mike Griffin’s inauguration, he learned he would vote alongside 12 local political and academic heavyweights.

Griffin, 20, has been a student leader since entering high school. He probably has the skill set to accomplish the task before him.

He definitely has the drive. And he will have the chance to prove himself after the board organizes itself in the next few months.

But Griffin was elected as student body president by a small number of students who thought his power would be limited to Student Government. Now, the position of student body president carries additional responsibility, not just power dealing with things such as new student bills and Activity and Service fees. The student body president will now vote on budgets, approve new degree programs, find funding for new buildings, tackle tuition increases and even help hire or fire a university’s president.

Candidates need to be aware of this and campaign accordingly. And above all, students need to understand they are not just electing a student body president, they are electing their only direct representation to the controlling body of this university, and respect the position accordingly.