Governor Polis signed a bill this week to expand Fort Lewis College’s Board of Trustees with two additional members. Previously, the Board of Trustees included seven appointed members, with one faculty and one student representative, for a total of nine. Adding two more appointed members brings the board’s size more in line with other state higher education institutions with nine voting members.
In addition to the size increase, the bill adds a requirement that at least one trustee be an enrolled member of a federally recognized Native American tribe. Also, previously no more than two members could be residents of Southwest Colorado, but now at least two members shall reside in Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, or San Juan county.
“The students at Fort Lewis College deserve to have a Board of Trustees who reflect their diversity,” said Representative Barbara McLachlan, who sponsored the bill with Senator Don Coram. “I sponsored this bill to ensure that one board member will be a member of a recognized tribe, and another to represent a resident of Southwest Colorado. Having focused representation helps student voices to be heard and recognized, adding to the value of a Fort Lewis education.”
“Bringing more input and perspectives from Southwest Colorado to the board will without a doubt positively impact the health and future of Fort Lewis College,” Senator Coram said.
The two new members will be appointed and begin serving by September 1, 2020. In January, Governor Polis appointed Durango local Meredith Mapel as an FLC Trustee after one of the two local members’ term expired in December 2019. She was officially confirmed by the Senate Education Committee at the end of February and joined trustee and former state senator Ellen Roberts as Southwest Colorado representatives. Roberts sees the addition of more regional members on the board as a way to better represent the College community.
“Adding two more committed trustees to FLC’s already wonderful, but small, board is a real boost to expanding trustee capacity and diversity,” Roberts said. “This is a welcomed opportunity to have more local representation on the board as well as having a dedicated Native American seat so that the trustees’ collective backgrounds more closely match those of our amazing students, faculty, administration and staff.”