Anthony Rusk, a sophomore majoring in neuroscience and cognitive and politics, philosophy, economics and law at the University of Arizona, will become the Arizona Board of Regents’ newest student regent, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced April 26.
Pending the approval of the Arizona State Senate, Rusk will replace outgoing student regent Aundrea DeGravina, nominated by Arizona State University, on the governor-appointed board responsible for governing Arizona’s three public universities.
"Anthony is a talented and dedicated student leader,” Ducey said in a press release. “Through his involvement in various student-government roles at the University of Arizona, Anthony has demonstrated impressive knowledge of university policy issues and a commitment to supporting his fellow students.”
Rusk, who was one of three nominees sent to the governor by a student-faculty search committee, will serve a two-year term on the board representing Arizona’s over 100,000 public university students.
The position of student regent was first introduced in 1978 after students lobbied for direct representation on the board. In 1989, the student regent became a voting position, and in 2000, two student regents, one voting and one non-voting, rotating between Arizona’s three public universities, began serving overlapping terms.
“The unique viewpoints of our student regents, from their personal experiences to the input they receive from their peers, is essential to our work,” wrote Ron Shoopman, chair of the board, in a press release congratulating Rusk on his appointment.
A Flinn Scholar, Rusk served as policy director for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, UA’s undergraduate student government, as well as served on a number of university committees focused on reforming UA’s general education curriculum, launching a new strategic plan and faculty governance.
UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins congratulated Rusk on his appointment in a press release.
“I have enjoyed working with Anthony through his participation in the University of Arizona’s strategic planning process and have been impressed with his knowledge of university policy and his focus on supporting his fellow students,” Robbins wrote.
Rusk said he hopes to use his experiences working on university policies to represent the voices of all students, especially those from marginalized backgrounds.
“I think it is important to have a grassroots approach to students," Rusk said. "I can think I know what students want, but only by actually talking to students and hearing what they have to say will I really know."
Rusk also said he hopes to hold student forums so he can convey students’ highest priorities and concerns to the regents.
Coming from a relatively rural background in Bullhead City, Ariz., Rusk wants to help close the attainment gaps he sees at Arizona public universities.
According to Rusk, the K-12 pipeline in Arizona is broken. He hopes to assist in implementing programs and resources to help students assimilate into college.
“The cost of tuition is the second-biggest reason why students leave college," Rusk said. "The first is mental health."
As a student regent, Rusk plans to voice his concerns over the rising cost of a college degree with the board and also fight to destigmatize mental health, helping to create new programs for student success.
Reflecting on his nomination, Rusk said he would not have had this opportunity without the support of his family, friends, roommates, the sophomore honorary SOPHOS, ASUA and others.
Rusk will not receive voting privileges until his second year when student regent Lauren L’Ecuyer, nominated by Northern Arizona University, retires.
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