Positions still open on Board of Regents as Dec. 1 deadline nears

Patrick Hayes

With at least two newcomers to be appointed and the Dec. 1 deadline fast approaching, legislative officials have only received four applications for open positions on the University’s Board of Regents.
Although five seats are open, three sitting regents are seeking reappointment. At-large Regent Chair Patricia Spence and at-large Regent Warren Larson, as well as the Fifth Congressional District Regent Michael O’Keefe, plan to seek another term.
However, Regent Jessica Phillips, who holds the student seat, has graduated and at-large Regent William Peterson died last month.
The low number of applications presents a problem for the Regent Candidate Advisory Council, which recommends regents to the state Legislature for appointment.
The council must recommend at least two candidates for each open regent position, so a total of at least ten applications are necessary. Currently, the council has received two applications for the student representative seat and two for the at-large positions.
“The University needs and deserves quality leadership,” said Nedra Wicks, advisory council chair.
“We have to generate a very qualified pool of candidates … to ensure we have quality leadership,” she added.
If not enough applications are received, the deadline will have to be extended for the first time since the council’s inception in 1988.
Comprised of 12 members — one from each of Minnesota’s eight U.S. congressional districts and four from the state at large, one of which must be a University student when elected — regents make every major decision regarding the University and its coordinate campuses.
Appointed by the Legislature, it is estimated regents spend 40 hours per month performing board duties. They also serve without compensation.
“The feeling in the state has been that this is the most important volunteer position in the state,” Wicks said.
If vying for one of the at-large regents positions, prospective applicants must be Minnesota residents. For O’Keefe’s seat, prospective applicants must also be residents of the 5th Congressional District.
As for Phillips’ seat, applicants must be students from any of the University campuses at the time of election.
In addition, applicants should have a good understanding of higher education and have previous board experience. Applications should be sent to the regent advisory council.

Patrick Hayes welcomes comments at [email protected]