Turlock

Stanislaus State student among California State University’s top brass

CSU Stanislaus Student Takes Seat On CSU Board

Communications and Econ major Maggie White was selected for a two year term on the California State University Board of Trustees. She is the third student trustee from the Turlock campus. (Nan Austin/naustin@modbee.com
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Communications and Econ major Maggie White was selected for a two year term on the California State University Board of Trustees. She is the third student trustee from the Turlock campus. (Nan Austin/naustin@modbee.com

When the august body leading the California State University system gathered Tuesday, a 20-year-old student from its Turlock campus had a seat at the table.

Maggie White, 20, of Stanislaus State is the board’s new student representative, notified two weeks ago of her selection after an application process that included interviews in San Diego and Sacramento with Gov. Jerry Brown’s staff.

“I can speak at meetings. I can network. I just can’t vote,” White said Wednesday, sitting in the shade at the Turlock campus with her mom, Lisa White, before heading to the dorms to sign up for housing.

White and Kelsey Brewer, 21, of CSU Fullerton represent the system’s 467,000 students on its board of trustees, serving staggered two-year terms.

Brewer, in her second year, serves as White’s mentor this year, a role White will take on next year for the next newbie. Brewer also has the lone student vote this year, passing it on to White next year.

The CSU board of trustees was created by the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960

White is the third student representative from Stanislaus State to serve on the panel. Andrew LaFlamme was appointed in 2006 and Daniel Cartwright in 2000.

“First of all, Maggie is an excellent choice – smart, thoughtful and well informed. She will provide a student perspective that undoubtedly will be of value to the board of trustees,” said Stanislaus State President Joseph Sheley.

“We’re also really pleased that through her, the talented students at CSU Stanislaus will become better known throughout the CSU system. We have a great story to tell, and she will help tell it,” he said Wednesday.

White spent Monday at board orientation in Long Beach and Tuesday at the first of six meetings this school year for the board. The panel includes Brown, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and CSU Chancellor Timothy White.

All I can do is talk, talk, talk and hope they listen.

Maggie White, CSU board of trustees non-voting student member

Though Timothy White jokingly introduced her as his daughter, the two are not related, she said. One of the best parts was meeting with presidents of the 23 CSU campuses and hearing about each school’s highlights, she said.

As a trustee, she is technically Stanislaus State President Sheley’s boss. The board appoints university presidents and oversees CSU regulations, policies, finances and facilities.

But at her first meeting, she mostly listened and learned, she said. Brewer’s insight at the meeting, from tips on which parking lot to use at the Long Beach meeting site to information on policy issues, was invaluable, she said.

One policy issue they both expect to work on this year involves Title IX, the federal gender-equality directive. “We want to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to transfer to other schools,” White said.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about. Everyone has a right to get educated in a comfortable space,” she said.

The CSU board of trustees was created by the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960

The overarching priorities for students on the board, she said, are access, affordability, quality and completion, referring to the number of students who quit before earning a degree.

White is from Modesto, a 2013 graduate of Valley Charter High, where she took college classes that also counted for high school credit. She graduated in 2014 from Modesto Junior College with an Associate of Arts degree in communication studies.

She transferred to Stanislaus State last fall, where she is pursuing majors in communication and economics, with a minor in journalism. The two-year commitment to the board meant sticking around for an extra year, she said, making the double major a practical option.

Her next board meeting will be in September. In the meantime, she will travel to Chico in August on an official visit to the campus there and take in a monthly meeting of the California State Student Association, where she serves as trustee liaison, but again, does not vote.

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