ABOR looks for next ASU student regent

The Arizona Board of Regents is currently on the hunt for ASU’s next student regent.

The governing body of the state’s three public universities is accepting applications for the 2011-2013 term, which begins July 1.

Students from the state’s three universities hold two seats on the board and rotate among the colleges each year. ASU does not have a student regent this year.

The two-year position is available to any undergraduate or graduate student.

The only requirement is that the applicant be a full-time student until December 2012, even though the term expires summer 2013. Applications are being accepted until 9 p.m. on Nov. 27.

ABOR makes decisions about the budget, tuition, new buildings and other long term plans for the Arizona university system. There are 12 total members, 11 of which are able to vote. The governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction serve as ex-officio members.

A student regent spends the first half of his or her two-year term without voting power.

Current student regent William Holmes said it’s important to have a student on the board.

“The student regent must bring forth a student perspective on all matters concerning students at the Arizona universities,” Holmes said in an e-mail.

ABOR did not have student regents until 1978 after the Arizona Students’ Association proposed the idea.

Regent Bob McLendon said he thinks every member of the board brings their own certain expertise and it’s important to have a student perspective because the decisions made impact students directly.

“One thing I’ve noticed about student regents is that they’re all very knowledgeable,” McLendon said. “I think they do represent the students and they do bring that area of expertise.”

First-year law student Ed Hermes, chair of the student regent selection committee, served on the board as a student regent for the 2005-2007 term.

Student regents have a large impact on the decisions, Hermes said. Many student regents pick a certain aspect within the university system that they’d like to improve and work on it throughout their term.

During his term, Hermes chose to focus on lowering the cost of textbooks, he said.

Hermes proposed a 10-point plan to the regents, which was supported unanimously in 2007.

“It was a huge victory, especially because it was unanimous,” Hermes said.

The universities now have more guidelines to ensure textbook prices remain in check, he said.

Student regents also get to vote at the board meeting during their second year.

Holmes, a UA economics and political science senior, is in his first year on the board and will get to vote starting July 1, he said.

Holmes said students interested in the position should be passionate about public service and making real changes in higher education.

The application is available on both the Downtown campus’ student government’s website, www.asasu.com, and the Arizona Students’ Association website, www.azstudents.org.

Reach the reporter at cottens@asu.edu