Gov. Blunt vetoes student curator bill

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gov. Matt Blunt vetoed legislation Wednesday that could have given a student the right to vote on the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Blunt said the legislation was "riddled with problems" and would have given one segment of the university -- the students -- a stakeholder interest on a board whose non-student members currently are supposed to consider the best interests of the university as a whole.

The Board of Curators currently has nine voting members -- one from each of Missouri's congressional districts. A student serves as a 10th, nonvoting member.

A bill passed this year would have given the student curator voting rights if Missouri loses a congressional district as a result of the 2010 census. Supporters say the bill could have solved a potential clash between the Missouri Constitution, which states there shall be nine curators, and state law, which prohibits more than one curator from each congressional district.

Blunt said he his office had received a lot of comments about the bill, including from higher education officials urging him to veto it.

"I think the current system works well and provides a good regional balance," Blunt told The Associated Press, "and I think there is concern in the higher-education community about the impact and feasibility of really executing the legislation."

The bill passed the Senate 31-2 and cleared the House 100-47 on the final day of Missouri's annual legislative session.

Under the bill, the student curator would have been barred from voting on hiring or firing decisions for faculty and staff. But the student could have voted on the hiring and firing of the president of the four-campus system, as well as on any other matters.

If the state loses a congressional seat, the first voting student curator would have been appointed by January 2011 and served a two-year term, under the bill's provisions.

Sponsoring Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, had said it was fair to let the student curator vote, partly because students are paying more tuition.

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