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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Three students vie for regent position

    The list of potential candidates for the position of student regent has narrowed to three students who will meet with Gov. Janet Napolitano by the end of this semester.

    Erin Ford, a first-year law student, David Martinez III, an education senior and Ross Meyer, an economics senior at Arizona State University, are vying for the non-voting student regent position on the Arizona Board of Regents, which will begin this summer.

    Ford, who worked in national politics, said she applied for the position in an effort to capitalize on a great opportunity to make a change in the students’ lives.

    “”This fits with what I love to do and is a great opportunity to make an impact,”” she said.

    Her top priorities would include making Arizona universities more accommodating and diverse, she said.

    “”That includes improving the financial aid system and lowering tuition, as well as making sure that we represent the multitude of this state,”” Ford said.

    Her to-do list also includes improving communication between regents and the students who are affected by regents’ decisions.

    “”Some problems that ABOR has had include a disconnection between the actions that they take and the students’ perceptions of those decisions,”” Ford said.

    Ford wants to hold office hours and create a more student-friendly Web site made specifically for communication between the campus community and the student regent.

    Martinez, an active member of Associated Students of the University of Arizona within the equal opportunity and affirmative action center, said his interest in higher education policy prompted him to apply. If chosen, Martinez said he would like to continue work on prevalent issues including the rising price of textbooks and tuition.

    “”We have seen dramatic tuition increases in past years, and I would like to look into those to ensure that the burden isn’t calling on the backs of students all the time,”” Martinez said.

    He would also pursue improved access to higher education foreveryone.

    “”It’s such a complex issue,”” Martinez said. “”It involves providing students with financial assistance and making sure they have the resources that they need when accepted, as well as making sure that the student teacher ratio is balanced and that teachers have the resources they need.””

    Martinez hopes to strengthen the relationship between students and members on the board, he said.

    “”I plan on putting a lot of miles on my car,”” he said. “”I definitely intend to go across the state to hear as many diverse opinions as possible to ensure that their voice is heard as loud and clear as possible.””

    Meyer, student body president of ASU, said he may be admitted to the UA James E. Rogers College of Law next year, which would make him eligible for student regent.

    He applied for the position in an effort to apply his student government experience toward making a difference.

    To ensure that he was not stepping on any toes, Meyer said he spoke with ASUA President Erin Hertzog to get the green light.

    “”We are all really excited about this,”” Meyer said. “”We are one of few states where students are considered to be full regents on the board.””

    Like the others, Meyer said he would like to work on strengthening the relationship between regents and students.

    “”I want to make sure that when regents are visiting other campuses that they get chances to really get to know the students and listen to student issues,”” Meyer said.

    “”Last year, (the Arizona Students’ Association) had a breakfast with the regents and from that came the ABOR textbook taskforce.””

    Meyer said he wants to continue small breakfast meetings, but also wants to take regents for walks in residence halls.

    “”I’m definitely a champion of making sure the student representation is there, but I want to also make sure that the student perspective is really seen,”” Meyer said.

    Napolitano will select one candidate in a final meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.

    “”It’s nerve-wracking,”” Martinez said of his upcoming interview with Napolitano.

    “”But I am definitely confident in the governor’s ability to look at the other fantastic candidates and make the best choice.””

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