HB 1256, SB 42 would improve student regent application process


Charlie Pearce

Max Richards is the current UT System student regent. 

Most individuals on campus are indubitably familiar with, for example, the SG President, Kori Rady. More astute followers will likely recognize a plethora of other names of active students on campus, which are mentioned time and time again in the pages of this newspaper. One name that is likely not familiar is Max Richards, the student regent for the UT System. Richards, who took office last year, has not made much of an impact in these tumultuous past few months for the board. In fact, a cursory search of his name shows that it has not made its way into the Texan since his nomination. 

One possible reason is the backdoor way that Richards came into office. A 2005 law passed by the Texas Legislature suggests that applicants to student regent positions apply to their respective student government organizations first. Richards — as well as his predecessor, Nash Horne — completely ignored this prerogative and applied directly to the office of then-Governor Rick Perry. Predictably, the move prompted condemnation from pertinent student groups, including this editorial board. 

However, the move has also angered a bipartisan caucus of concerned onlookers in the Legislature. As the Texan has reported, a pair of bills in both respective houses of the legislature seeks to formally forbid student regent applicants from applying directly to the governor’s office. State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, and state Sen. Judith Zaffrini, D-Laredo, the respective authors of said bills, noted that they wish to both improve the quality of student regents and return more decision-making power back to the students themselves. 

Granted, Gov. Greg Abbott’s track record on issues pertaining to this University has been significantly better than his predecessor’s, but we still strongly believe, nonetheless, that the state’s chief executive should not usurp one of the few remaining opportunities for students to contribute to the administration of their universities. We support these bills, HB 1256 and SB 42, respectively, and urge the Legislature to pass them swiftly.