Regents support second student regent bill
Hull expected to sign the bill
Members of both the Arizona Board of Regents and ASUA are now in favor of the second student regent bill that the Arizona Senate passed Monday.
Senate Bill 1190 establishes a second, non-voting student regent on the board and extends a student regent's term to two years.
While members of Associated Students partially researched and lobbied for the idea, some regents have stated concerns about the ramifications of the bill.
At the March ABOR meeting at the University of Arizona, several regents argued that this change could prompt the students to ask for a second vote on the board.
But Regent Judy Gignac said she is now supporting the bill.
"I have no major problems with this (bill)," Gignac said.
Gignac added that she would not be in favor of giving the students a second voting regent position, but does support the creation of a learning year for the student regent.
"If this helps the students in getting their thoughts across and opinions out there, then I'm in favor of it," Gignac said. "It's two pairs of hands rather than one, it's a big state to cover."
Regent Kay McKay said she agrees with ASUA, the Arizona Students Association and the state Legislature that the new position is needed.
"I support what our Legislature did," McKay said. "It's so complicated (a position)."
In the past, the faculty has also requested a voting position in ABOR, Gignac said.
Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it is pending the approval of Gov. Jane Hull.
Francine Noyes, the governor's press secretary, said it is likely Hull will sign the bill.
Members of ASA have already begun lobbying Hull though phone calls and e-mails.
Current Student Regent Christine Thompson, a University of Arizona law student, said the extra learning year is necessary to understand how to work with the regents.
"The biggest obstacle they have to face is getting used to the personalities on the board," Thompson said. "(A student regent) will be intimidated just by the nature of the position."
If Hull signs the bill, then the next step will be ASA and ABOR coming to an agreement about the duties of the second student regent.
"It's time for both ASA and ABOR to start talking," said Ben Graff, Associated Students executive vice president. "It's looking very positive."
Whether the new position will be able to speak at the meetings is one of the issues that the two groups will have to decide.
"It's one of the procedural things we need to address," Gignac said.
It is also important that an agreement "that makes all the regents comfortable," is reached, Gignac said.
Cisco Aguilar, ASUA president, said he doesn't know what kind of reaction the second student regent will get from the other regents.
"You never know from one day to another," Aguilar said. "They always surprise me."
Both Thompson and Kelly Dalton, ASA co-director, said they believe the regents will be in favor of having a second student regent.
"I think they're going to welcome it with open arms," Dalton said.