Members of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada on Monday testified before lawmakers in support of a proposal that would add a student to the Board of Regents.
Assembly Joint Resolution No. 8 proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to add a 14th member to the board. The legislation would have to pass two legislative sessions before being placed on a ballot for voters to decide in 2016, said Alex Bybee, a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, who has been involved with the bill.
AJR-8 was heard by the Assembly Education Committee late Monday afternoon.
Bybee, who was among several students who traveled to Carson City, said the Nevada State Board of Education has a student member who serves as a liaison between the board and the students. Some students felt similar representation was needed in higher education, he said.
“This is something that students really want,” he added.
About 40 states have some sort of student representation on their Board of Regents, Bybee said.
“We want Nevada to join that trend,” he said.
The student regent would have full voting powers and would be appointed by the Board of Regents, Bybee said.
Mark Ciavola, University of Nevada, Las Vegas student body president, said he supports the concept of having a student regent, but “there’s a lot of information that’s up in the air right now.”
He is not sure whether a University of Nevada, Reno student would understand the needs of UNLV students and vice versa.
Also, he thinks there is already some student representation with the Board of Regents through the Nevada Student Alliance. The alliance is composed of student body government representatives from all of the higher education institutions.
“I don’t think the absence of the student regent means students don’t have a voice,” he said. “I would hope that people don’t think that students don’t have a voice now.”
Regent Kevin Page said he is in favor of student representation. But there are a few details that would need to be worked out in the bill. Having 14 members on the board could be problematic because it is an even number, he said.
Regardless, he credits students’ efforts to push the bill forward.
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