State House passes bill to add a second student regent
PHOENIX-The Arizona Board of Regents is one step closer to adding a second student regent with approval from the state House of Representatives yesterday.
The House voted 47-7 to pass the bill, and a similar bill in the Senate should see a final vote within a few days.
The new regent would be appointed by the governor, to make a total of 10 regents. The additional regent would not be allowed to vote until the second year of the two-year term. The terms of the two student regents would be staggered.
Christine Thompson, a University of Arizona law student and the current student regent, said the basic makeup of the board would stay the same because the additional student regent would "shadow" the voting one for a year.
"It really gives the student regent a greater opportunity to be effective," she said. "It will be a year to learn and a year to implement."
At an earlier House hearing, Rep. Jean McGrath, R-Glendale, explained the plan as allowing each regent to spend the first year as an "apprentice" before having to vote.
In a Senate hearing, Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, called the bill an effort to "bring more experience to the board."
In the amended Senate version, the change would take effect in the 2001-2002 term. The governor would appoint one student to a one-year regent term and another to a two-year term. The regent appointed to the term would be allowed to begin voting immediately.
George Yogurtian, from the Arizona Students Association - a student lobbying organization - said the plan allows the student regents to "better represent students."
Sam Leyvas, also from ASA, said the bill would allow "someone who isn't quite so jaded" a chance to serve on the board.
Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cisco Aguilar said he met with the bill's author, Rep. Michael Gardner, R-Tempe, Tuesday and was confident the House would pass the measure.
"We're all really excited it has made it through the House," Aguilar said. "The main reason I support this is the student regent will be better educated. It adds another student voice to the Board of Regents."
Thompson said from her experience on the board, the regents value the opinion of the students.
"The regents on the board take into account the views of students and recognize students are the consumer at our universities," she said.
Thompson added the measure has a lot of support in the Senate and that she thinks Gov. Jane Hull is also in support.
Kristen Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.