Students Could Become Part Of University Governing Body - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/3/05

Students Could Become Part Of University Governing Body

College tuition has increased 15% in the past year and is expected to get even higher. The Board of Regents have the sole power to control tuition rates and direct university policy. The chancellor and university presidents report to the regents.

Now, imagine the student at the top of that chart-getting a chance to vote alongside the regents, having a say in how much tuition students pay. Proposed legislation in Austin could make that idea a reality. NewsChannel 11 checked up on this legislation. Students in Texas have been fighting for more than 30 years for a seat on the board of regents.

On Wednesday, Senator Eliot Shapleigh from El Paso filed a bill to support that fight statewide. Under the bill students would nominate a student regent and the board would make the final appointment. The idea is gaining support from Texas Tech Students.

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"I think a student's perspective would be good, it would give some insight to the chancellor and to the president as well," says Texas Tech student Drew Stewart.

"Especially in this school because we're getting increases, all kinds of fees and we don't even know what we're paying for," adds Preston Sherrell, a senior.

"The student would probably have zero say," expresses Pedro Gonzalez, a graduate student.

NewsChannel 11 took a closer look at the history of this kind of law in Texas and we found that the same bill was supported back in 2001 and 2003 but it died in committee.

Universities outside of Texas do currently have students sitting on the board of regents. We did some checking and found out Eastern New Mexico University has had a student regent for more than a decade. We called them and spoke with Vice President Kenneth Jones. He says the student is appointed directly by the Governor. They say it's working there because it gives the other regents a student perspective they wouldn't have otherwise had.

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