Regents to the Rescue

The University’s Board of Regents has five new members. Who are they, and why should you care?

Max Smith

Max Smith

This March, five new regents were elected to serve on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.  If you are like most students, then you have probably heard of the Board of Regents, but have limited knowledge of their role at the University.  The Board of Regents’ policy states that their responsibilities are to “clarify the mission of the University of Minnesota and approve programs necessary to fulfill that mission” and to “monitor and evaluate the performance of the institution in achieving its goals.”

Essentially, the Board of Regents is the University’s system of checks and balances. They evaluate policies, programs, fiscal matters, and the administration to ensure that the University upholds a positive public image.

If you are like most students then you have probably heard of the Board of Regents, but have limited knowledge of their role at the University.

Elections of regents occur every few years in a session of the Minnesota Legislature after previous regents have served a six-year term. Terms are staggered to prevent a complete board overhaul.  The board is made up of one regent from each of the eight congressional districts and four at-large members. One of the at-large members must be an undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Minnesota.

The current student regent, Abdul Omari, is a doctoral candidate in comparative and international development education, having earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota.

In this election, regents from the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th congressional districts were chosen. For each position, candidates are either recommended to the Minnesota Legislature by higher education committees or nominated from the floor.

Their responsibilities are to “clarify the mission of the University of Minnesota and approve programs necessary to fulfill that mission.”

The winners of this year’s election came from both the recommended and floor candidates. Michael Hsu of the 6th District and Thomas Anderson of the 7th district were recommended candidates that won against their opponents nominated from the floor. In the election for the regent from the 3rd District, however, both candidates were nominated from the floor. This was the closest election of the year, decided by two votes. Darrin Rosha, a former student regent from 1989-1995, won the position of regent over Bill Luther.

The regents from the 1st and 4th districts were re-elected this year, having both just completed previous terms. Dr. Patricia Simmons from the 1st District is now serving her third term as a regent. Richard Beeson of the 4th District currently serves as Chair of the Board of Regents, and ran unopposed.

Whether they’re appointing the next president of the University or approving plans to repave parking lots, these individuals will spend the next six years ensuring that the University of Minnesota continues to function effectively at all levels, and maintain a strong relationship with the surrounding community.