The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Lawmakers discuss changing positions to elected officials

In light of the Board of Regents’ recent hiring freeze, state legislators and Gov. Scott McCallum are discussing the possibility of electing regents rather than appointments.

The Board of Regents consists of 17 members, including one university student. All have been appointed to their positions and hold seven-year terms.

The positions are not paid and make decisions on hiring university chancellors, budgets and set the admission standards for 13 four-year and 13 two-year campuses.

No official action has been taken in changing the selection process of regents.

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Because the regents are appointed by the governor, they are not accountable to students, Student Senate president-elect Sarah Schuh said.

If the regents had to be elected it would be in the students’ best interest to vote, she said, adding however, that the comments by angry legislators are coming too soon.

“You can’t be giving them (regents) power and taking it back.”

The regents had more authority this term to set the salaries for university positions, such as the system president and chancellors.

Decisions, like the salary raise, that affect many keep the Board accountable because legislators will hold regents accountable, Mash said.

Mash does not want to see the Board of Regents elected because he said it would highly politicize the work of the regents.

If the regents were to be elected, it would be important to students, Academic Affairs Director for United Council Maggie Brown said.

“If the positions were elected that would mean that we as students and voters could hold them (regents) accountable,” Brown said.

Holding elections, she said, would allow people who are more connected to the UW System to govern.

“None of the regents are in tune with what is going on, on campuses,” Brown said.

Lolita Schneiders, a regent for two years, said since the position is on a volunteer basis and quite time consuming, it would be hard to get many to run for the elected positions.

She thinks that a lot of special interest groups would run.

The Board will soon be discussing the hiring freeze again. Schneiders said within the next couple of weeks they should have an idea on how much longer it will last.

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Lawmakers discuss changing positions to elected officials