Student reps believe they can hold sway with regents

Student representatives complained last fall about not being able to comment to the board about controversial issues.

Kari Petrie

Newly elected student representatives to the Board of Regents said the recently raised issue of their limited ability to comment on board issues should not be a problem this year.

Last October, the student representatives voiced their frustrations after they were not able to comment on such issues as a new Gophers stadium and the Mount Graham International Observatory.

Board policy states that student representatives are allowed to comment at board subcommittee meetings and in front of the full board only on topics not discussed during the subcommittee meetings.

The new representatives will be recognized at Friday’s regents meeting, with only six of the seven student representatives scheduled to attend. The students represent each of the University’s campuses, including two from the Minnesota Student Association and one from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

The GAPSA representative will not be recognized because that group will hold elections next week.

Andrew Sorsoleil, an agriculture industry and marketing sophomore and St. Paul campus representative, said making sure regents hear his voice will be challenging.

He said he will speak with regents informally and in meetings to get his ideas heard.

“They’re here to help us, and hopefully that’s what they are doing,” he said.

Sorsoleil said his top priority is for regents to understand the importance of having farm animals on the St. Paul campus.

Regent Maureen Reed said student representatives need to utilize their informal time with the regents and balance it with formal interactions.

“Often times, the informal interactions (are) the way stuff gets done,” she said.

Travis Amiot, a marketing and communications senior who represents the Duluth campus, said he did not know how the lack of comment would affect his ability to express his views.

“If we’re not being heard – that’s going to be really tough,” he said.

Gina Jennissen, the only GAPSA candidate, said the past concerns will not affect her ability to communicate with the regents.

“It seems like something that they’re working on and getting students more involved in that aspect,” she said.

The other representatives are Johanna Farmer from Morris and Crookston’s Cameron Brauer.

MSA’s representatives are management junior Jacob Elo and technology senior Joshua Colburn.

Kari Petrie covers the University’s Board of Regents and administration. She welcomes comments at [email protected]