Proposal seeks student seat on UM System Board of Curators

Thursday, January 20, 2011 | 7:04 p.m. CST; updated 8:14 p.m. CST, Thursday, January 20, 2011

COLUMBIA — Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, introduced two bills this week to address the conflicting legislation that governs the UM System Board of Curators.

The proposals were prompted by the loss of one seat in Congress in 2013, based on the latest U.S. census data.

The Missouri Constitution mandates nine curators, but a separate state law restricts each congressional district to one curator. With only eight seats remaining, the legislature must decide how to handle the ninth curator position.

Still introduced a bill that would allow an additional curator to be appointed from one of the remaining eight districts after reapportionment. Her second bill revisits the issue of giving the student on the board a vote.

"I would prefer a student member on the board," Still said.

Still, however, is afraid the idea of a voting student curator won't gain much traction in the House.

A similar bill proposed in 2008 allowing for a voting student representative was vetoed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt.

Laura Confer, the current student representative, hopes future student members will be able to vote on key issues such as proposed tuition increases and new benefits plans.

"Personally, I would like to vote on the board to maintain a quality education," said Confer, a junior at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

If the Missouri General Assembly does not act by 2013, the law requiring the board to have only one member per district would become unconstitutional.

The curators' next meeting is Jan. 27-28 at MU.

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