Gov. Janet Napolitano appointed a replacement last week for the nonvoting student regent who resigned two months ago, finalizing the speedy process student leaders had hoped for.
Ed Hermes, an Arizona State University senior majoring in political science and history, joined voting Student Regent Ben Graff on Wednesday as a student advocate on the Arizona Board of Regents with enough time to prepare before the Dec. 1 meeting, said Graff, a third-year UA law student.
Graff said he was relieved to hear Hermes would be able to sit at the December meeting because of important issues that will require the voice of ASU students.
"The timing was perfect," Graff said. "We could always use more time, but Ed benefits from already having worked with the regents as an (Arizona Students' Association) director."
Hermes' appointment fills the seat left by Kolby Granville, an ASU law student who resigned Sept. 24, marking the first time a student regent left midterm since the creation of the position in 1978.
Student regents, who are appointed for two years, are chosen on a rotating basis from each of the three state universities. Because this year's new regent was from ASU, the replacement also had to be from ASU, according to the board of regents Web site.
Although a student regent, who represents all 115,000 students in the Arizona university system, would usually need confirmation by the state Senate to attend executive session, a statute allows a replacement to have full privileges immediately following his or her appointment, Hermes said.
Hermes said he plans to visit the UA again soon to meet with leaders and students to become familiar with their concerns.
Fernando Ascencio, an ASA director who has worked with Hermes on university issues, said Hermes will be an excellent regent because of his determination to connect with students.
"Ed is pragmatic and has a strong commitment to the student voice," said Ascencio, a political science senior. "He has all the experience, and at the same time his heart is at the level of the students."
Graff said he isn't worried about a repeat resignation because of Hermes' experience and enthusiasm for the position.
"I know Ed appreciates the fact that the student regent position is one of the most important voices for Arizona students," Graff said. "He knows a lot can be accomplished for students by his representation on the board."
An ASU selection committee of student leaders chose Hermes and two other finalists among 17 other candidates after applications were submitted on Oct. 14, Hermes said.
The finalists were then forwarded to the governor's office, which conducted interviews before making a selection Wednesday, Hermes said.
While Hermes draws from his political experiences as a state Legislature intern and ASA director, he believes student life gives him just as much insight, he said.
"I enjoy just being a student and talking with other students, which has really grounded me," Hermes said. "I want to focus on student concerns and really taking care of students' needs."
Hermes is an ASA director and the chairman of the ASA legislative committee. He was also the director of government relations in the student government, though he will have to resign all those positions this week, he said.