Students deserve a trustworthy Regent

For quite some time, there has been a student representative from each of the three Board of Regents schools sitting on the board and attending its meetings. For that same period of time, those student representatives have not had the power to vote.

Now, State Rep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, has developed a proposal to allow Student Regents a vote on all Regents matters, except concerning faculty tenure and personnel decisions. Such a rule would be beneficial to all students at the three universities and should be implemented. However, some thoughts should be considered before marching ahead and granting a Student Regent vote.

The method of selecting Student Regents should be reevaluated and possibly changed. Currently, Student Regent applicants are required to submit a resume and three letters of recommendation to the Student Association president. Next, the applicants are interviewed by the SA president, vice-president and treasurer. Finally, the SA president makes the final selection.

The flaw in this process lies with who does the selecting. There is a need for input from an experienced administrator and perhaps students outside of the SA when Student Regents are appointed. The university presidents at all three universities should be included in the interviewing process.

If a student is going to have the power to vote on crucial issues affecting the financial and academic policies of the universities, that student should be carefully screened to ensure intelligent votes. The insight of a university president or administrator would be helpful in choosing the most responsible candidate.

There is no question that students should be allowed a voice on the governing board. Past proposals to allow a Student Regent vote have failed to pass through the General Assembly. But perhaps the legislators in Springfield would be more apt to support this new proposal if the Student Regent selection process was broadened.

opefully Countryman will gain the support he needs to pass this bill. In the event he does, let’s also hope the Student Regents will use their votes wisely, to the benefit of all students and everyone at the Regency universities.