Student trustees at Ohio University represent students as nonvoting members of the Board of Trustees for two years and are chosen by Ohio’s governor.

On Monday night, the eight candidates for the position met in Porter Hall to discuss their qualifications and interest in the position at a town hall forum. A selection committee made up of representatives from all five senates and the two sitting student trustees will then select five candidates to be interviewed by Governor John Kasich. 

Student Senate Vice President Nicole Schneider moderated the forum, asking the candidates about how they would act as a student trustee. 

Here’s a little bit about each candidate. 

Alvin Chaney, a sophomore studying industrial and system engineering

As student trustee, Chaney said he would emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion. When asked if he would let his personal political beliefs influence his role as student trustee, he said he would not and keep it a “neutral zone.”

Sam Conrath-Sweeney, a sophomore studying finance and business analytics

Conrath-Sweeney is a fourth-generation OU student and said the university is his “absolute passion.” He said his good communication skills and analytical thinking would help him with the position.

Dominic Detwiler, a sophomore studying sociology

As a student who previously studied at an OU branch campus, Detwiler said he is in a special position to keep students at regional campuses in mind as a student trustee. He said it “would not be unreasonable” for a student trustee to take a trip to every branch campus every month. 

Ross Esterline, a freshman studying accounting

Esterline said he’s a “naturally curious person” who’s open to asking student and faculty how the university can improve, as well as asking students at other universities what works for their school.

Justin Kelley, a freshman studying finance and marketing

When asked what one characteristic would help him serve as student trustee, Kelley said he is charismatic. 

“I’ve talked to a lot of students and know a lot of students,” Kelley said. “I can be their voice.”

Austin McClain, a sophomore studying business economics and entrepreneurship

McClain said as student trustee he wouldn’t only want students to come to him, but would also reach out to students about issues on campus. He mentioned, for example, he would reach out to members of the Bobcat 70 about the Freedom of Expression policy and talk with student athletes about what they think of the Sook Center. 

McKenzie Rader, a sophomore studying moderate to intensive special education

As a student trustee, Rader said she would offer different perspectives. She is a first generation college student, a tour guide and has grown up in multiple different states. Her experiences, she said, allow her to connect with a range of OU students. 

Carlie Tianello, a sophomore studying political science  

As a Cutler Scholar, member of Student Senate and participant in other university organizations, Tianello said she has the leadership skills to be an effective student trustee. She is interested in running for office one day and said being a student trustee would give her experience being a representative. She was interviewed by the governor last year but was not offered the position.  


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