Director of the Union discussion

Concerns and clarifications on director of the Union hiring

Hello, everyone!

Last Thursday, President of the Union Matthew Rand ’19 and I met with Vice President for Human Resources Curtis Powell, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Travis Apgar, and other representatives from the Division of Human Resources to discuss the Director of the Union hiring process.

The meeting was productive. We shared the student body’s concerns about the process and clarified the importance of the Executive Board’s approval of the next director of the Union, as outlined in the Union Constitution. During the meeting, Matt and I clarified the student body’s position on the matter, which we felt a recent article in the Troy Record had mischaracterized.

We are working with Powell, Vice President for Student Life LeNorman Strong, Apgar, and Strategic Communications and External Relations to produce a joint letter to the RPI community. This letter outlines the steps that have been taken, as well as the steps that will be taken through the completion of the hiring process.

This morning, we had the opportunity to meet with the President of the Institute Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson to further discuss this topic. We are excited to find a collaborative solution that both celebrates the Union’s rich history and restores the student body’s faith in the hiring process. Once we have updates, we will be sure to share them with you all!

On a different note, on Monday, the Senate heard two presentations. The first was from Vice President for Institute Advancement Graig Eastin, who shared some of the events that will be taking place during Reunion & Homecoming Weekend this year. Then, we heard from Mr. Apgar and Director of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Judicial Affairs Michael Arno on planned changes to the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Once the Senate has been able to review the draft as it currently reads, we will be voting on the Senate’s stance on the changes. We also confirmed the appointment of two new representatives on the Executive Board, completing the E-Board’s membership and providing representation for the Class of 2021. In the coming weeks, Mr. Strong will be presenting revisions to the Student Life Performance Plans to the Senate, resuming a welcomed and longstanding tradition.

Finally, for those of you who celebrate the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, shana tova and g’mar chatima tova—happy new year, and wishing you an easy fast! These holidays, which equate to the New Year and the Day of Repentance, respectively, mark a fresh start as we begin the Jewish year of 5778.

As we have shared before, we serve in our roles as grand marshal and president of the Union because of our love for our alma mater and our Union. The passion we see from the student body and the memories we hear from alumni motivates us. Most importantly, we are excited for the opportunities that our discussions on the hiring process will yield. Students and administrators will be working together for the benefit of our beloved home. As always, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or ideas, please feel welcome to email me at