After an extended selection process, Gov. Scott McCallum appointed former UW-Whitewater Student Government President Tommie Jones to the student regent position on the UW Board of Regents.
Jones succeeds UW-Madison senior Joe Alexander to the two-year term.
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, too, said his experience and credentials were what set him apart from the other candidates.
“I was selected because of the experience I have as a student leader and my ability to work with all different types of people,” he said. “I’ve been able to be responsible, accountable and approachable.”
McCallum chose Jones early in July after a selection committee narrowed the dozen applicants down to four recommendations.
The controversial nature of the appointment process created sparks, especially after Jones used his first vote to increase tuition at UW.
“There are students who are concerned with his voting to increase tuition,” ASM Chair Jessica Miller said. “For that to have been his first vote makes people a little weary of him.”
Jones claims that despite voting against what most students may want, his decision was carefully thought out.
“I wanted to make sure students understood the whole entire budget process and what it actually entails,” Jones said. “We’re looking at particular things our institutions felt are needed, such as the Milwaukee Idea and the Madison Initiative. All of those things needed approval, and when I was voting, those are the kind of things I was looking at.”
According to Monterrey-Millet, McCallum has high hopes for Jones’ abilities to tackle 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.
Miller said she and Jones are putting together a forum to meet with UW-Madison students.
“He hasn’t had a lot of contact with students outside his own campus, and he has expressed interest in doing so,” she said.
If approved by the state Senate, Jones’ appointment marks 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 is president and chief student representative on the Whitewater Student Government and has a long list of experiences in university-level politics. Jones has also worked with various diversity organizations, the Segregated Fee Allocation Committee and a number of budgetary and planning organizations.
For a transcript of the interview held with Jones, see The Badger Herald website.