Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


State Senate bill could dramatically alter Board of Regent make-up

The Board of Regents is facing a possible make-over as the fall

semester approaches.

The Senate Committee on Higher Education and


Tourism recently proposed and presented SB85, a bill authored by

Sens. Sheila Harsdorf and Dale W. Schultz.

The bill would alter the makeup of the board

by appointing one representative from each of the 16 Wisconsin

technical college districts and by adding a student of at least 24

years of age to represent nontraditional students from UW System


As of now, the Board of Regents consists of a

state superintendent of public instruction, 14 citizen members, one

UW System student and an appointee from the technical college

system board.

Chris Schneider, Committee Clerk for the

Higher Education and Tourism Committee, said if passed, SB85 would

make board affairs more regionally proportional.

“What she [Harsdorf] was seeing on the board

was a lack of statewide representation,” he said.

Schneider also feels SB85 would pay heed to

the ever-growing numbers of nontraditional students, those that are

at least 24 and have been in the work force but continue to receive

higher education.

“This is a growing population, one that the

universities should be more aware of,” said board member Roger


As both Schneider and Axtell point out, the

number of high school students is leveling out across the state,

while nontraditional students is climbing towards 25 percent of

those receiving an education.

Although Axtell sees SB85 as “an exceptional

idea,” he feels the suggested term of two years for the proposed

board member would take away from any benefits the new position

would create.

“Two years is not the best period of time to

learn. There’s at least a one year learning curve,” he said, noting

that both the university and board systems are complicated

enterprises, ones that can not be easily learned.

Further, Axtell feels the demands of a board

position could be difficult to meet, especially for a student.

“It is a very time-consuming job,” he said,

but added students have met such demands in the past, such as

former student body president of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Tommie Jones.

“He was one of the best and jumped right in,”

Axtell said.

Despite such concerns, both Schneider and

Axtell see SB85 as a legitimate possibility for the future.

“The ultimate benefit is that it would add

more student representation,” Schneider said.

The Associated Students of Madison and the

United Council have shown adamant support for the bill at past

legislative meetings, Schneider said, adding that “the students are

receiving it well.”

No date has been set to vote on SB85, and the

Board of Regents has only had brief discussions on the bill, Axtell


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