Frye stresses realistic goals as student trustee for next year


Lucas Frye, a junior in ACES, is interviewed by The Daily Illini about his future plans as the new student trustee. The campus election, where Frye beat out Nick Reinberg, was held on March 4 and 5, and his term will begin on July 1.

By Megan Jones

The Daily Illini’s Editorial Board sat down with newly elected student trustee Lucas Frye to speak about his views and goals for his term. Frye, junior in LAS, serves as the president of the ACES Council and a member of Student Alumni Ambassadors. He is from Easton, Ill., where he graduated in a class of 50. 

The Daily Illini: What are your thoughts on gender confirmation surgery being added to the student health insurance plan now that it has been approved by the Board of Trustees?

Lucas Frye: My reservations were simply that as far as the specific issue, it was pretty interesting how it came about. It was pretty short notice. A lot of the things that are like this, you want to gauge student opinion on whether to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ This is really difficult to do in the timeframe and series of events … It would be a little frustrating to be in the current student trustee’s position. If there was that issue, why did no one go to him? I don’t know if that occurred or not … If a precedent like that was added, regardless of which group was trying to make a change to the health care program … a lot of students could have a similar concern and say ‘Well I don’t have this coverage either.’ Now, it’s going to be harder when other things come up and we’re going to have to just keep barreling them through. Eventually, it could get difficult to set which line we want to draw regarding how far our student health insurance plan is going to go. 

DI: As part of your campaign, you said that you wanted to make sure that registered student organizations will be given a group forum. How do you facilitate a forum that will gauge in a representative way?

LF: I understand that this is really difficult thing to do, and it’s something that’s been brought up year and year again. You have to take that baby step and realize that you’re not going to hear every single RSO’s voice. It’s impossible to take 1,300 club presidents and say, ‘I talked to every single one of them.’ I am not just sitting in a board room making all the decisions and having that disconnect with the student body. I want to have 20 or 30 student leaders that are major organization leaders … I want to get them to commit to meeting twice a semester … The base goal, the root of it all, is to make sure that I’m meeting with student leaders on campus. As far as coming into a role, it’s unrealistic to say ‘here’s 10 campus issues I have the answer to.’ I’m a very realistic person. You need to get into the role, see what’s going to happen and then decide what you can get done.

DI: As a land grant University, the University is here to serve students in the state. There has been an increased presence of out-of-state students on campus. What are your thoughts on that?

LF: We are a land grant University with a global presence, and that’s almost an oxymoron. … If we want to make sure the University of Illinois is one of the premier providers of education, we’re going to need that mix of international students. In-state students should be the first priority, but I think the blend that we have right now is solid … The economy today is getting more global … companies really value students who have a global value.

DI: The trustees approved the formation of a 19-member committee to search for the next president, and you will be heavily involved in this. … Do you believe that the president search should be an open search?  

LF: Obviously, we haven’t had a very good track record in the last decade, but hopefully we can find a good individual. It’s essential that our next leader understands the mission of the University … It’d be good if they said these are our top three guys or gals. Here (are) their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately we’re going to decide from here.

Megan can be reached at [email protected] and