Limited vote for student regents under consideration

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The student member of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents would be able to vote on tuition and curriculum decisions under legislation considered Tuesday by a Senate committee.

Such students currently serve only in advisory capacities.

Janson Thomas of the Student Association of Missouri, a lobbying group for college students, told the Senate Education Committee that the present measure addresses the concerns of those who feel students are ill-equipped to weigh the more serious matters facing university boards.

"This bill is different because it only allows the student to vote on issues that have direct impact on students -- curriculum and tuition fees," Thomas said.

Student members wouldn't be allowed to vote on matters pertaining to litigation, real estate deals or personnel.

No opposition was voiced in committee, but Southeast board of regents president Don Dickerson said he favors the status quo.

"I'm all for student regents because it is one way for the board to hear input on student issues," Dickerson said. "I just don't think it is quite right to give them a full vote."

Dickerson said student regents would likely oppose tuition increases on principle, and he doubted they could offer much insight on curriculum matters. However, he said he relies heavily on student regents' advice.

Southeast student regent India Daniele Jeffrey, a junior, said she hadn't studied the details of the legislation.

If enacted, the measure, which is sponsored by state Sen. Jon Dolan, R-Lake St. Louis, would apply only to student members appointed by the governor after Aug. 28, 2005.

The bill is SB 1387.

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