Student Regent Beth Richlen last week introduced a proposal that would add a new student member to the Board of Regents. The plan calls for a new member to represent the UW System’s non-traditional students, those who are above the age of 24 and either employed or have children.
While we certainly applaud the possible addition of an additional student voice to the Board of Regents, we cannot help but feel that the new student could be inserted in a more effective manner if they represented a different constituency.
Some regents went on the record fearing the new student regent would be in the pocket of student government interests. This is certainly a legitimate concern, but we propose a slightly alternate solution to Richlen’s proposal.
Realizing nearly half the UW System’s funding to goes to UW-Madison, and recognizing this campus to be the system’s flagship school, it seems only logical that a permanent position on the Board of Regents be created for a representative from Madison’s student body. Madison is the primary doctoral granting institution in the state and the only school where very significant amounts of internationally recognized (and expensive) scientific research is conducted.
This presents a unique perspective from which students on this campus must be represented to the UW System’s governing body ? not simply as students in a classroom, but as thinkers on the cutting edge of human knowledge and the state’s economy. A proposal mandating one student representative from UW-Madison and another from any of the other System schools would most adequately represent the interests of students in this state.
We do not mean to downplay the significance of non-traditional students in the UW System, and realize they comprise a sizeable and significant portion of the student population. Additionally, the current student regent, Beth Richlen, attends UW-Madison as a law student. But it might not always be that way ? a day may come when two student regents come from outside Madison.
A UW regent would be able to speak for all the students on the system’s most prestigious campus, both “traditional” and non-traditional. We encourage the UW System Board of Regents to consider our proposal.