Although UA student officials disapprove of the recent resignation of the nonvoting ASU student regent, they said they are confident students statewide will continue to be represented until a replacement is found.
Kolby Granville, the nonvoting student regent and Arizona State University law student, announced his immediate resignation Sept. 29 at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting, two months in to his two-year term and never having attended a full session.
It marked the first time a student regent has left office early since the beginning of the position in 1978, according to the Arizona Board of Regents Web site.
Benjamin Graff, the voting student regent, said he will remain committed to his duties and will vote as usual, assuring that Granville's resignation won't affect student representation.
It's unfortunate that Granville gave up the position because of how important the role is for the 115,000 students in Arizona that Granville represented, said Graff, a third-year law student at the UA.
"It's very disappointing because the student regent is one of the most helpful and effective positions for students in higher education," Graff said.
While in the position of nonvoting student regent, which was added to the board in 2000, the student spends one year learning the system and gaining the trust of the other regents, Graff said.
After completing the first year, the student becomes the voting student regent and can cast one of the nine votes on the Arizona Board of Regents.
Student regents are chosen on a rotating basis from the three state universities. ASU will provide the representative for this year, and next year the incoming student regent will be from Northern Arizona University.
To replace Granville, a selection committee at ASU will nominate three students by Oct. 24 who will then be interviewed and evaluated by Gov. Janet Napolitano, said Yaser Alamoodi, the president of the Undergraduate Student Government at ASU-Tempe and committee member.
If the student appointed by the governor passes the state Senate's higher education committee and the full Senate, he or she will become the nonvoting student regent who replaces Granville, Alamoodi said.
There is no specified timeline after candidates are nominated, but all of the parties involved are expected to make their decisions quickly, Alamoodi said.
Before an appointed student is approved by the state Senate, he or she can begin working on issues and attending meetings, except during executive session, Graff said.
Granville said he decided to step down to lead a voting initiative that will organize students to elect only state legislators that support education, which could lead to fewer tuition hikes.
"If it works, in 12 months it will seem like the natural choice I had to make," Granville said. "If it doesn't, then it will look like an extraordinarily stupid idea and one of the dumber decisions in my life."
Granville said he didn't intend to insult his colleagues or devalue the position of student regent, but decided his abilities were best suited elsewhere.
"I saw a deeper understanding of where I could do the most good," Granville said.
Andrew Record, an ASA director, said Granville discussed the voting initiative with him about two months ago, but he didn't hear about it again until Granville's resignation.
"I was a little disappointed because I thought he was going to be a good champion for the students," said Record, a political science junior. "But I think he can do some good things with the initiative he's working on."
Record said he is confident that Graff will continue to represent students effectively until his colleague is replaced.
"I have the utmost confidence in Graff that he can do the work of two student regents."
Cade Bernsen, Associated Students of the University of Arizona president, said he was surprised by Granville's resignation and hopes his replacement will be as supportive of ASUA's child care and solar energy plans as Granville was.
"I was a bit disappointed, but I don't believe the student regent position is in jeopardy at all," Bernsen said.
Graff said he is prepared to mentor the incoming student regent and get him or her up to speed on pressing issues such as the search to find President Peter Likins' successor and the UA College of Medicine's expansion to Phoenix.
"I'm definitely looking forward to catching him or her up later in the game," Graff said. "I have absolute confidence that it will be fine."