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ASA to lobby for second student regent position

By Ryan Gabrielson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 26, 2000
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A proposal to add a second student to the Arizona Board of Regents will receive support today as Associated Students of Arizona representatives lobby the state legislature.

ASA, including members of Associated Students of the University of Arizona, are lobbying in favor of senate bill 1190. If passed, SB 1190 would lengthen the term of student regents from one to two years and create an apprentice for the voting member.

With the current structure of ABOR, the student regent has a short period of time to become acquainted with the procedures and issues facing ABOR, said Cisco Aguilar, ASUA president.

"The other regents have eight years to become a good regent, the student regent only has four months to prepare," Aguilar said.

This bill would allow the apprentice student regent a learning year to work under the voting student regent.

"The training year would allow the student regent to slide into the position and hit the ground running," said Christine Thompson, student regent and second year UA law student.

Ben Graff, ASUA executive vice president, said that with current ABOR structure, the student regents are replaced right at the point they have motivation to work on the board.

With the added time to learn, the result will be better student representation, Graff said.

"They wouldn't be intimidated, it could be an exciting step for ASA," said Graff.

The idea, conceived by ASA officers, has been discussed at the past two ABOR meetings.

"I think the training year would foster good relationships," Thompson said. "It would be a good way for the student to get comfortable."

Graff said that if the bill is passed, it would be a big victory for ASA and a sign of the times.

"Over the past 25 years, there has been a dramatic change, we have more influence and we're no longer just talking to a board of non-students," Graff said.

The legislature is not expected to oppose the bill, Graff said, while apprehension is expected from the other regents.

"I think the legislature will support it since we have positive contacts in the legislature," Graff said. "In the regents is probably where we'll see the most discussion."

One possible objection from the non-student regents is the possible addition of another voting member, Graff said.

By extending the term, the requirements for a potential student regent could change. Within the current structure, the student regent could be a senior.

If the bill passes, sophomores and juniors will be considered to fill the positions. The only way a senior could become a regent is if the student plans to attend graduate school at the same institution.

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