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How student trustees at Indiana public colleges, universities are chosen

The Indiana University campus in Bloomington.
FILE PHOTO: Peter Balonon-Rosen
/
IPB News
Student trustees on public university boards in Indiana are full voting members.

The governor makes hundreds of appointments to boards and commissions each year, including university boards of trustees. And in Indiana, there is a student trustee on each of those university boards.

Those students are full voting members — something Indiana University’s new Student Trustee Kyle Seibert said is a “weighty thing.”

“The health of this place, making sure it’s still here and serving the people that it’s supposed to serve 25, 50, 100 years down the line — that is top priority,” Seibert said.

Seibert, a public affairs major, previously served as IU student body president. He described the transition as going from throwing punches to being the punching bag.

“It was a good opportunity for me to give back to the university that I think has given me so much in only three short years,” Seibert said.

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Michael Nossett, deputy general counsel for the governor, leads the administration’s work in board appointments. He said student trustees previously serving in student government is actually unusual. Rather, he said, they come from all different backgrounds and majors.

“They're super passionate about their university, but also they're very mature,” Nossett said. “They get the big picture and they just want to find a way to meaningfully contribute.”

Nossett said each university sends the governor’s office a list of candidates. The candidates then go through multiple interviews with members of the governor’s staff before the appointment is made.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.