Couple to head the ASUU Non-Traditional Students Board

By and

After just finishing up her term as senior class president, Lissy Black was looking forward to taking a break from campus politics, but an unexpected resignation within the student government has changed those plans.

Lissy Black and her husband Dan Black recently agreed to take over as directors of the Non-Traditional Students Board as the previously appointed couple Matt Jensen and Jen Rogers resigned.

Rogers and Jensen had just taken office in May as directors of the board, but Jensen said the couple found they were too busy planning their wedding.

“We just need more time for school, work and our new marriage,” he said. “It was a bigger time commitment than we could handle.”

The board sits within the Associated Students of the University of Utah Executive Cabinet and represents married students, students with children, older students and several other qualifications that are “non-traditional.”

Student Body President Jake Kirkham interviewed a host of candidates for the position and found the Blacks to be the most qualified.

Kirkham recently restored the Non-Traditional Students Board after a yearlong absence under last year’s administration.

The past administration placed the board under the diversity board, where many, including Kirkham, said it was neglected.

“It got lost under the diversity board,” said Lissy Black. “(The diversity board director) didn’t really see the importance of married students.”

Former Student Body Vice President John Poleman admits that eliminating the board was a mistake, and said that he wishes his administration could have better addressed the needs of married students.

The Blacks are optimistic in their plans for the board. The two said they plan to predominantly focus on married students, who they said make up around 40 percent of the student body.

The couple plans to create or continue activities that are tailored more to married students with families.

“We’re going to make sure they are getting something for their student fees,” Dan Black said. “Not to say that they’re not invited to other activities- some things they just might enjoy more.”

They also plan to make child care more readily available so married students can attend activities.

Lissy Black said she initially didn’t think she and Dan Black would be chosen to head the committee because they are planning to leave the U in January for a study-abroad program.

She said that even though they are going to be gone for the last three-and-a-half months of the school year, Kirkham thought her level of experience in ASUU would make up for the absence. The Blacks plan to train assistant directors to take their place in January.

“They decided that they would rather take our experience and strength so we are able to train someone to step in for us,” she said.

She also said that because she has been involved in the student government before, she will be able to get the board on its feet quicker than someone new to ASUU.

“This will allow us to get things going without reinventing the wheel,” she said.

Cameron Beech, spokesman for ASUU, said the Blacks were unsure if they’d be leaving in January and will find out if they are accepted into the program in late August. Regardless of what happens, it’s worth the gamble because of the Black’s previous experience, he said.

Maegan Burr

The ASUU recently appointed new Non-Traditional Board Student Directors Dan and Lissy Black. Lissy Black also served as the senior class president last year.