Regent visits Student Senate

Oct. 31, 2008

By Amanda Ochoa

Lariat Reporter

For the first time in two years, a member of Baylor's Board of Regents, Dr. Howard K. Batson, paid the Student Senate a visit at their meeting Thursday night.

He answered senate members' questions regarding increased tuition rates, donor discouragement, scholarship issues and especially targeted the University's Presidential Search Committee.

Student Body Internal Vice President Parker Short said Howard's attendance at the meeting was very important because it showed just how much a member of the board of regents truly cared about the students.

Members of the senate asked Batson questions, which focused primarily on last week's passed bill, which asked the Board of Regents to consider adding an inclusive search committee made up not only of faculty, staff and alumni, but also of students.

"I don't think it's a bad idea to have students on the advisory board for the presidential search," Batson said. "They can bring up many different topics and ideas to the table most regents wouldn't even think of."

Right before the senate meeting Short, Student Body President Bryan Fonville and Student Body External Vice President Nicole Yeakley had the chance to address the Board of Regents. They addressed issues such as scholarships and increased tuition. They also introduced the Student Senate's bill in hopes that Baylor Regents will consider adding the inclusive committee as part of the presidential search.

"We always are appreciative of any opportunities we are given to speak to the board," Fonville said. "It's our chance to really get our voices, as students, heard."

While increased tuition is not escapable, Batson said, due to increasing scholarship money, the chance to redeem the university's trust factor and gain more donors to invest in the school, relies on the next president.

"Our president has to be a leader," Batson said. "They have to be approachable, inspirational and humorous."

Whomever he or she is, that person needs to be the face of Baylor, somebody that donors can trust, he said.

"We think an inclusive search committee is what is best for the Baylor family, especially at this point in time," Fonville said.

Student Senate is trying to approach this presidential search differently than the last search, which had an advisory board made up of alumni and faculty who were only able to voice their opinions, but could not vote. The vote was left up only to the Board of Regents, which led to Lilley's term as president.

Student Senate believes it is important to allow students, faculty and alumni to be a part of that voting committee to bring Baylor back as a unified university, Fonville said, although they realize the ultimate decision is still up to the board.