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How major UMass System decisions are implemented

Lindy Reed
Student Trustee

The UMass Board of Trustees governs the UMass system, but includes positions for UMass students to make sure their voices are heard.

This board makes and approves the major system-wide changes within the UMass system. The powers and authorities of the UMass Board of Trustees are established by Massachusetts General Law. Essentially, the Board of Trustees oversees the UMass President and the chancellors of each campus.

The Board works closely with the UMass President to create and implement a long-term vision for the UMass System. Together, the board, the president and the chancellors draft strategic plans based on ultimate goals that guide the growth and development of each university.

Some fiduciary board authorities include annually approving the tuition and fees for each campus, preparing maintenance and capital project estimates and requests, and regulating all university property and real estate.

Some academic and student affairs related authorities include creating or managing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs, establishing student conduct policy, and setting admission and program standards for approval by the Board of Higher Education.

Other board responsibilities include submitting a five-year master plan to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Secretary of Education for approval, creating and submitting institutional mission statements to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Secretary of Education for approval and creating a performance measurement system in consultation with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Secretary of Education.

Other than these statutory powers, the student trustees often advocate at the state level. This past year, they worked with the UMass President’s Office to plan and execute the Impact Reception, a legislative event that showcases to state representatives the economic contributions that the UMass System provides the Commonwealth.

Last year, we also collaborated with an organization called the Public Higher Education Network of Masachusetts (PHENOM) to execute Advocacy Day. This annual event brings together hundreds of college students from across the state to speak directly with legislators and representatives in their offices at the State House about the issues that most heavily impact us.

The board is composed of 17 voting members who are appointed by the governor and serve five-year terms, and five student trustees (one student trustee for each of the five UMass campuses- Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and the Medical Campus in Worcester) who serve one-year terms and are elected by their respective student bodies.

Only two out of the five student trustees have voting power on the board, and they change on a rotating basis. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Lowell and Dartmouth campus student trustees had voting power. This year, the medical campus and the Amherst campus have the vote.

Every fiscal quarter, the board holds committee meetings and full board meetings. Board committees include the Advancement Committee, which focuses on fundraising, the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs, the Audit Committee and the Committee on Administration and Finance.

All board meetings are open to the public. Their agendas, meeting dates and locations are posted online on the UMass President’s website. Students are highly encouraged to attend meetings if they are interested.

Students can reach out with questions or concerns to Student Trustee Lindy Reed’s Facebook page at or send me an email at She also holds weekly office hours in University Crossing Room 243. They are posted outside Rm. 243 and on herFacebook page.

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