Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Student regent announces goals, hopes

RICE LAKE, Wisc. — Newly appointed student Regent Tommie Jones addressed student government officials from across Wisconsin for the first time Saturday, calling for better academic advising and a stronger relationship between students and the Board of Regents.

In a brief speech to United Council, which is the UW System student government organization, Jones outlined his hopes and goals for his two-year term as the lone student on the UW System Board of Regents, which sets policy for all UW schools.

Jones called for better academic advising at all 26 UW schools.

“I know this [advising] issue faces every one of our campuses,” he said at the UC General Assembly meeting, held at UW-Barron County in Rice Lake, Wisc. “We all say our institutions are four-year institutions, but more students are graduating in five or six years.”

Jones wants to increase the number of new-student programs and the amount of career counseling available.

Controversy ensued when he denied a request by one United Council member to write a letter to the board requesting the addition of a non-traditional student to the board.

“I’ll be honest with you: No,” Jones said. “This is an issue that is a legislative issue.”

Associated Students of Madison student representative Jeff Pertl denounced Jones’ strong-willed answer to what he saw as a legitimate request.

“Student groups asked him for something very concrete,” Pertl said. “I can understand his hesitancy, but I think that’s the ideal thing for him to do. That’s the kind of thing [United Council] found frustrating.”

Jones also rallied students to be more active in achieving their goals.

“It is our attitude that will get things done, so I say to you: How high do you want to fly?” he asked. “The issues that come about are important for me as well, and I want to be there to help as we improve Wisconsin’s public higher education.”

But many student leaders, especially those from ASM, showed they were not impressed with Jones’ record thus far.

In his first week on the board, Jones controversially voted to increase tuition for the whole UW system. Non-resident students at UW-Madison now pay $15,800 in tuition, a 15.4 percent increase over the prior year.

Jones defended his vote, saying a good education is an expensive one.

“Higher education is costing more,” Jones said. “We’re in a tight financial situation. What we have, if we want to sustain it, is going to cost.”

But Pertl said Jones did not adequately back up his vote.

“He didn’t really say how specifically a tuition increase will benefit students,” Pertl said.

Many ASM members clearly expressed disappointment in Jones’ address, but Jones said this does not phase him.

“Several other groups I talked to were very supportive of me and of what I had to say,” Jones said.

He said he did not need the support of ASM.

“My job is to be a person that works with the state of Wisconsin as well as with students,” Jones said. “If I’m not able to work with ASM, I will have to try and find another way to work with UW-Madison students.”

ASM Vice Chair Carl Camacho said Jones needs to recognize ASM as representatives of students at UW-Madison.

“If he doesn’t hold UW-Madison student concerns as one of his priorities, that shows his neglect of student concerns,” Camacho said. “We are the biggest school in the UW System.”

Camacho said Jones’ vote to increase tuition represents this neglect.

“It’s irresponsible to say that you and students are on the same page, yet he still votes contrary to what they’re saying,” Camacho said.

Jones said ASM has expressed disinterest with working with him because they have not invited him to campus.

“They haven’t made the courtesy,” he said. “Several times I have come to Madison, and they have not invited me to campus.”

According to both Pertl and ASM Chair Jessica Miller, they have invited Jones to campus.

“ASM is very interested in working with Regent Jones,” Pertl said. “People were frustrated, but ASM didn’t come away not liking him.”

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