The Board of Regents should represent more of the student body

The white male experience isn’t universal.

The Minnesota House and Senate meet in a joint session to vote for new members of the University's Board of Regents on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at the State Capitol.

Carter Jones

The Minnesota House and Senate meet in a joint session to vote for new members of the University’s Board of Regents on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 at the State Capitol.

Kathryn Schultz

Last week, the Minnesota Daily published an article about the election of four regents to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents. All are white men. Four days prior, the Daily reported that student leaders were disappointed with the regent finalists due to their failure to accurately represent the student body. A month earlier, student leaders wrote a letter ranking the candidates to reflect the values and diversity they felt best represented our university.

“It didn’t have any direct bearing on the final selection,” the article quoted Bud Nornes, chair of the House Higher Education Committee and representative from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, saying. “Those quotas to me are just something that I don’t worry about. I should maybe, but I don’t,” he continued.

Fergus Falls, which is also my own home town, is overwhelmingly — 95.5 percent to be precise — white. It’s not surprising that Nornes doesn’t understand the importance of taking diversity into account considering the makeup of his own community.

Regardless, his comments are disappointing. Representation matters. Maybe this is a controversial statement considering our history of U.S. presidents, Academy Award voters, Congress, film leads, etc., but the white male experience isn’t universal. If we want our student body as a whole to get the most out of our university, they need to be understood.