Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Greg Patterson was a Tucson representative and had recently resigned from his office after allegations of ethics violations. Greg Patterson is a former state legislator from Scottsdale. Former Tucson Rep. Daniel Patterson resigned from his position April 11.
Conservative blogger and former state lawmaker Greg Patterson received mixed reactions from lawmakers following his nomination by Gov. Jan Brewer to the Arizona Board of Regents on March 23.
Patterson would replace Regent Ernest Calderón and take on an eight-year term with the Board.
Patterson's blog, Espresso Pundit, has become the centerpiece of debates regarding whether Patterson is qualified to be a regent.
In the past, Patterson's blog has critiqued ASU, NAU and UA presidents as well as ABOR.
Patterson's blog has also suggested there is a lack of economic value in majors such as psychology, history, religious studies, political science, English literature and journalism.
Patterson said most people go to college with the expectation of a positive financial benefit.
"For a lot of degrees, when you calculate the total cost of attaining the degree and you compare it to the overall revenue of the lifetime the person has the degree, (economic value) is lower," Patterson said.
He said programs that did not have positive economic value should be made less expensive and more rigorous in order to "impart skills that closely match a career."
In addition to focusing on majors that have positive economic benefits, Patterson said his priorities would include lowering tuition and making transfers more seamless.
During a press conference Wednesday, Sens. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, and Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, said they were disappointed with Brewer's nomination of Patterson.
Gallardo said Patterson has been an "out-of-touch" and "extreme" conservative since joining the legislature in 1991.
"Mr. Patterson's online tirades have been widely reported," Gallardo said. "It's no secret that he revels in playing a role in the partisan politics that have divided our state."
Likening Patterson's ideologies to that of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, Gallardo said with Patterson's nomination, Arizona is "turning back the clock on the rights of women, minorities, working families and children."
Taylor said ABOR is no place for someone like Patterson.
"I am respectfully, but deeply, disappointed with the governor's choice for the Board of Regents," Taylor said. "Appointing a man who is known for propagating partisan rhetoric and eviscerating and belittling those who disagree with him is not the caliber of person Arizona needs to lead our universities."
ABOR student regent and Russian senior Tyler Bowyer said he fully supports Patterson's nomination.
"Greg has a wide array of talent and experiences that very few have," Bowyer said. “I see a whole lot of positives coming out of the appointment of Patterson."
He said Patterson's conservative nature would add a different perspective to ABOR that would benefit the Arizona education system.
"Regardless of your political background, once individuals get on the Board they become a team player," Bowyer said. "Right now, more than ever, we need advocates standing up for higher education that are conservative."
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