Student regent selection off base

The candidates are two law students and a graduate student from Duluth.

This was going to be an important year for undergraduate students to take a special interest in the Board of Regents. For the first time in six years, the student spot on the board is up for grabs. The Board of Regents, the governing board of the University, always has a student spot.

The “student” currently being replaced on the board is Lakeesha Ransom, who was finishing her Ph.D. in Human Resources Development and is a senior project manager at Best Buy Co. Ransom doesn’t seem very representative of the student body, with a full-time job and an advanced degree, but you can hardly blame her since all regent terms, including student regents, are for six years.

The Regent Candidate Advisory Council selects finalists for regent positions, and this year they are boasting that the applicants are “more than qualified,” and that this year they chose three student candidates, even though the norm is two. However, it is too bad that the final candidates do not include an undergrad.

Isn’t the point of a student regent to be an actual representative of the student body? Anyone can agree that the lives and priorities greatly differ between undergraduate and graduate students.

The committee did receive applications from undergraduate students, a few of which have had experience with the board. The chairman has said the committee is looking for students who can “hold their own” in discussions with regents. Apparently, this only includes students seeking higher degrees.

But maybe not many undergraduate students applied, because they knew they would be locking themselves into a six-year position. At this point in undergraduates’ lives, most don’t even know what jobs they want after college, much less where they are going to live.

To generate more interest in the position, get different kinds of students to apply and achieve an undergraduate student voice on the Board of Regents, we suggest shorter student terms and a selection committee with an open mind about undergraduates.