Grad students make their regent choices

Tom Lopez

The Council of Graduate Students has endorsed at least two candidates for the Board of Regents who did not receive the recommendation of legislators from their respective districts.
In an attempt to make its voice heard in the Legislature, the council will forward its endorsements of regent candidates to the Capitol. Council members listed 1st Congressional District candidate Dr. Thomas Stoa and 7th District candidate Herbert Chilstrom among the five candidates that they hope will win the five open seats on the 12-member board.
However, legislators from the 1st District selected Regent H. Bryan Neel after caucus interviews Wednesday, while 7th District candidate Bob Bergland received his district’s endorsement. The caucus selections are non-binding and will be forwarded to the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee.
“I would say that the recommendations will have an impact,” said Council President Tom Foster. “We certainly hope that the Legislature will take the opinions of the students of the University into account.”
The council, which is made up of only graduate students as opposed to professional students, also endorsed 5th District candidate Michael O’Keefe, who received the recommendation of legislators from that district.
In selecting their favorites, Foster said the council used three criteria: “experience in higher education, an understanding of the unique mission of the University of Minnesota and an appreciation of the issues involving graduate education and research.”
The council also selected Carol Ericson for the 4th District and Barbara Klemme in the 6th District to round out its slate of endorsements. Legislative candidate interviews for those seats will take place today and tomorrow.
“Previous experience with governing boards and record of community experience and leadership” were heavy considerations among the council’s selections.
The council was specifically concerned with the style of leadership of the candidate. “We were looking for someone who could build a consensus and not go in with a heavy-handed leadership style,” he said.
Since the council’s constituency is made up of graduate students, the issues involving the graduate school’s mission were taken into great consideration. However, Foster said he believes the slate is in the University’s best interests as a whole.
“We feel that the research mission and the teaching mission of the University are congruent with the opinions of the graduate students,” he said.
The slate was selected by the council’s executive committee, and was agreed upon unanimously by its members. The entire council gave the committee authority to make the selections independently at the last meeting.
Members of the executive committee made their decisions after they reviewed the three-page applications of the candidates.
After looking at the candidates from each district, the committee members chose the candidate whom they felt was the most outstanding. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that the second- and third-place candidates wouldn’t also be qualified, but we were looking for the best,” Foster said.
He added that the decision of the slate was not based upon the likelihood of the Legislature’s selection.
“We know that in District Seven, for example, (Chilstrom) is not the front-runner,” Foster said. “But we feel that this is the best slate.”