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Volume 70, Issue 113, Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Student regent bill stalls in committee

In proposal, governor would choose students for state university boards

Cougar News Staff

A Texas Senate subcommittee left a bill pending Monday that would put students on all the state's public universities' boards of regents.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, proposes giving student regents two-year terms on their schools' boards. The student regents, like their professional counterparts, would be appointed by the governor.

Each state-funded university would take applications for the student regent positions and forward them to their system's chancellor, who would be able to turn down some applicants and send the remaining ones to the governor.

Once appointed, the students would serve two-year terms, with voting powers in their second year.

Shapleigh's bill is identical to one filed by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.

Thirty-nine states have student regents, and in 29 of those states, the students have voting privileges.

In the UH System, a student from UH elected by the student body serves a one-year term on the Board of Regents, but may not vote.

The student government presidents from The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University testified in support of the bill Monday, saying student regents would make university leaders more accountable to students, particularly in light of tuition increases since the Legislature deregulated public university tuition in 2003.

"If (senators) had to look a student in the eye and say a student shouldn't be able to serve as a regent, I don't think they could do that," Brett Chaney, UT's student government president, told The Daily Texan. "This is inevitable."

Wentworth is scheduling a hearing for his bill.

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