Back in my undergraduate days at Texas A&M University, I often lobbied for there to be a student representative on the A&M Board of Regents (the organization that governs the university). With issues such as skyrocketing tuition negatively affecting A&M’s students, I thought that it was important for the students to have their own voice on a board that was otherwise pretty disconnected from their daily lives.
Apparently, this finally came to fruition the year that I graduated. The latest appointment from unpopular Republican Governor Rick Perry, though, is a complete bastardization of the whole idea:
Nearly every decision the Board of Regents makes affects every student in the Texas A&M University System. In 2005, the Texas Legislature established a student representative to their ranks, allowing a venue for more student input. That position is now held by a student from a campus other than College Station.
The Board announced new Student Regent Cassidy Ann Daniel, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry on Feb. 5, along with nine students appointed for other state institutions. A senior political science major at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Daniel is the second student to serve on the Board, after Tyson Voelkel’s year-long term ended on Feb. 1….
Daniel is the president pro tempore of the West Texas A&M Student Senate, chapter chairman for the Young Conservatives of Texas at WTAMU and is the state vice chairman of Chapter Relations. She is a 2006 Ronald Reagan Future Leaders Scholar and a 2003 Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient.
The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) is infamous as a right wing extremist organization, characterized by its homophobia and its outspoken opposition to a variety of mainstream values, including diversity in higher education and academic freedom. Such gems include its annual gay-bashing parade, its affirmative action bake sale, and its professor watch list.
I would be skeptical of a member of this organization serving on the Board of Regents, but the idea of the YCT’s chair being placed in such a position is absolutely absurd. Granted, the student body of Texas A&M University is more conservative than most, but I can personally vouch for the fact that the YCT was a marginal (although vocal) voice on campus that did not represent the views of a significant proportion of A&M’s students. I hope the current students raise hell about this.
Hat tip to Meredith Clancy for sending me the Battalion article.