House votes against adding voting student to UM Board of Curators

Monday, March 7, 2011 | 7:09 p.m. CST; updated 9:18 p.m. CST, Monday, March 7, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY — Two of the nine members of the UM Board of Curators will come from the same congressional district beginning next fall.

Missouri will be losing one congressional seat because the state's population is growing at a slower rate than other states, so the Board of Curators will also lose its seat representing that district. The board must account for the loss in order to maintain an odd number of voting members to break ties.

The Missouri House voted 99-53 against adding a student as a voting member to the board.

Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, presented the bill that would have given a UM System student the power to vote on the Board of Curators. The House, though, sided with Rep. Mike Thomson, R-Maryville, who sponsored the bill allowing a second member from one of the districts to step in as the ninth voting member.

Thomson said a student has "no place in running the school."

Still tried to rally support for her bill and student competency by using legislator and MU law school student Rep. Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, as an example.

"This is a perfect time for this to happen," Still said.

Laura Confer, an MU student, is the current non-voting student member of the board. When Thomson's bill was filed, she disagreed that a student shouldn't have a say in running the university.

"Students are the constituency of the university and would represent the interests of the whole student body instead of a member representing their own district," she said.

Missourian reporter Jordan Shapiro contributed to this report.

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