The Western Carolina University Board of Trustees officially welcomed its newest member Friday, June 1, as Matt Opinski, president of WCU’s Student Government Association, took the oath of office.
Opinski, a junior from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was elected SGA president during the spring semester, a position that also entails serving as an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees. He will serve on the board for the 2018-19 academic year.
A 2015 graduate of the Academy for the Arts, Sciences and Technology in Myrtle Beach, he is the son of Maria Campbell and Michael Opinski. He is pursuing a major in emergency medical care.
Administration of the oath of office came during the board’s quarterly meeting.
“Today is truly one of the biggest honors of my life, and I plan to make the most out of my time as trustee,” Opinski said. “I just want to say how honored I am to be here. It’s sort of surreal to be sitting here at this table with you.”
Opinski shared with his fellow trustees a brief report updating SGA’s plans for the year ahead and told them about the organization’s recent revamp of its bylaws. Activities will include an increased emphasis on support for diversity and inclusion at WCU, he said.
Like many colleges and universities across the nation, WCU has been dealing with issues of race and intolerance in recent months. The campus experienced several incidents in the spring semester in which African-American students were subjected to anonymous shouts of racial slurs, including one situation that occurred during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity March.
In reaction to those incidents, SGA has created a new diversity and inclusion position to serve as part of the organization’s executive cabinet, Opinski said.
In other action, the trustees approved a revision to the board’s bylaws changing responsibility for oversight for information technology policy from its administration, governance and trusteeship committee to the finance and audit committee.
The board also approved the university’s internal audit update and the 2018-19 audit plan.