The search for the next student regent, who will come from the University of Arizona and serve a two-year term on the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body for Arizona’s three public universities, is nearly complete.
UA’s Student Regent Search Committee, composed of student leaders, faculty and administration, announced the selection of three student finalists after a lengthy application and interview process that included a one-on-one meeting with UA President Dr. Robert Robbins and a public forum.
The three finalists, Brennen Feder, Anthony Rusk and Derrick Espadas, were approved by UA’s student governing bodies: the Graduate and Professional Student Council on Nov. 28 and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate on Dec. 5.
With that approval and further vetting from the UA, the names of the three finalists have been forwarded to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, who will select the final appointee, contingent on the approval of the Arizona State Senate.
Student Regent Selection
The search committee received six qualifying applications for the next student regent and narrowed it down to three finalists, according to ASUA President Natalynn Masters.
“All three finalists hit home the idea of making sure they are visible on all of Arizona’s public university campuses,” Masters said.
GPSC president Marie Teemant, a member of the search committee, said she focused on students who best articulated a strategy for understanding and representing students with different experiences from their own during the selection process.
“The qualities that are most important in a student regent is their ability to advocate for a diverse population,” Teemant said
The student regent is the sole voice for Arizona’s students on the board, and it is important that they can represent all of Arizona’s students, Masters said. The regents have two student regents on their board each year, but only the student regents in the second year of their term can cast a vote.
Meet the Finalists
Brennen Feder is currently a sophomore at the UA majoring in education literacy learning and leadership and business. Feder also serves as a senator for the College of Education in ASUA, president of UA’s sophomore honorary and an Arizona Ambassador.
If appointed as a student regent, Feder said he hopes to serve as a conduit for communication between Arizona’s university students and the regents, providing student input to the regents and reaching out to students with information from the regents.
“As student regent, I hope to accomplish my goals of increasing student input in decision making, advocating for minority student representation and boosting student retention and graduation rates,” Feder said.
Anthony Rusk is currently a sophomore at the UA studying philosophy, politics, economics and law, as well as neuroscience and cognitive science. Rusk is also ASUA’s policy director this year.
If appointed as a student regent, Rusk wants to focus on providing minority students a voice in university decisions, fostering a collaborative environment between Arizona's three public universities and putting the needs of students first.
“Arizona's demographic of students is rapidly changing; however, our policies and support for those students are not adequate in mitigating some of the issues minority groups may face when entering university,” Rusk said.
Derrick Espadas is a junior in the Eller College of Management focusing on accounting and business management. Espadas is also the co-director of Camp Kesem at the UA and a volunteer tutor in the Tucson community.
Espadas did not respond to the Daily Wildcat for comment.
Campus Leaders’ Hopes for the Student Regent
“I hope the our next student regent can address the financial needs of students in Arizona,” Teemant said. “The continually rising cost of education in this state makes university education increasingly prohibitive.”
According to Teemant, the student voice should be the driving force in regent decisions, making the UA’s next student regent all the more critical.
“The most important aspect of being the student regent is balancing your regent responsibilities with being a student and the voices of students you represent,” Masters said.
Masters said she hopes the next student regent can help the regents achieve their goals, like accomplishing the Achieve 60 AZ initiative to help 60 percent of Arizona high school graduates pursue university degrees or further training, as well as fighting for affordable tuition and fees and other student issues.
Gov. Ducey will likely interview UA’s three nominees and send Arizona's next student regent for the state senate's approval in January.
Check back to the Daily Wildcat for a full profile on Arizona’s next student regent from the UA and coverage of the regents’ key meetings on campuses next April.
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