After an extended selection process, Gov. Scott McCallum appointed former UW-Whitewater Student Government President Tommie Jones as a student regent on the UW Board of Regents.
Jones will succeed UW-Madison senior Joe Alexander to the two-year term and will stand as the solo student on the Board.
Gov. McCallum spokesperson Debbie Monterrey-Millet said the governor was impressed with Jones’ leadership skills, achievements and personality.
“His resume was very impressive,” Monterrey-Millet said. “Tommie had so much experience [working] for UW, and when he came in to meet the governor, [McCallum] was extremely impressed with the way he presented himself.”
Jones was chosen after a selection committee narrowed the dozen applicants down to four recommendations. Despite his naming in the selection committee’s final four recommendations, the governor could have chosen anyone to fill the seat, assuming the state Senate would have approved the appointment.
Alexander said Jones’ qualifications put him in a nice position for student leadership on the Board.
“He knows the issues, he’s willing to listen to people on all sides, and he’ll do a great job,” Alexander said.
Jones will begin dealing with a long string of tumultuous issues such as the rising tuition at UW starting Thursday when he attends his first meeting.
“Immediately Tommie is going to have to make a decision about the tuition hike,” Alexander said.
Jones will also be dealing with issues such as diversity, financial aid and the segregated fees controversy in the upcoming year, which leaves him at a prime decision-making spot for students across the state.
“Any appointee has to remember that when sitting on the Board of Regents, you’re a representative for the state, not a cheerleader [for various interest groups,]” Alexander said. “It is important that the Board lead and not be led.”
According to Monterrey-Millet, McCallum has high hopes for Jones’ abilities to tackle these complex issues.
“It’s going to take a lot of commitment and study, but the governor is confident [Jones] has what it takes,” she said.
If approved by the Senate, Jones’ appointment will mark the first time an African American has served on the Board. His second year in the position will mark the first time a graduate student has sat on the Board.
Jones, a senior at UW-Whitewater, is a political science and race and ethnic studies major. He has been elected president and chief student representative on the Whitewater Student Government and has a long list of experiences in university-level politics. Jones also has a long list of experience in various diversity organizations, the Segregated Fee Allocation Committee and a number of budgetary and planning organizations.