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The Associated Students of the University of Missouri on Monday released a response to Gov. Matt Blunt’s veto of a bill that would have given the student representative to the UM System Board of Curators a vote on the board, if Missouri loses a congressional district in the 2010 census.

Here is Blunt’s reasoning for vetoing the bill.

ASUM board chairman Craig Stevenson said the response was sent along with a letter to each Missouri legislator that voted for the bill, and that next week the same response will be sent to those who did not originally vote for the bill. Here is ASUM’s official response:

  1. Criticism: Board would turn from a “Lay” Board to a “Stakeholder” board.
    1. ASUM’s Response
      1. The UM System has made continual strives of moving into a business-like model. From hiring President Gary Forsee from to searching other sources of funding from the corporate world, the UM system is adopting  a business model of performing business.
      2. Business models allow the stakeholders to have a true voice, and with students paying 50% of the budget, all students ask is for 1 vote.
      3. Students are unique in that they serve as the only “stakeholder” who does not benefit financially from the University, merely contributes to it, while maintaining an intimate knowledge of the System.  Furthermore, the student “stakeholders” are the least accessible on campus, where other stakeholders already maintain a bridge to the Curators, this action builds one for students.
  2. Criticism: Bill as written would make it hard to find a student whose enrollment fits.
    1. ASUM’s Response
      1. Like other curators, the student must be a Missouri Resident and they must be full time student. This bill does not change the enrollment qualifications.
      2. This bill adds no new stipulations to a student’s enrollment to serve in this capacity.
      3. This is a fruitless point in that students are already serving on the board within stipulated enrollment requirements.  No problems have been experienced in finding a student to fulfill this already existing position
  3. Criticism: Student Curators are more transitional than traditional curators (2 year vs. 6 year term)
    1. ASUM’s Response:
      1. This is the same time the U.S. Congressman has in order to serve their term
      2. Students’ incoming knowledge of the inner workings of the university system could be superior to those of a normal curator – they have experienced the system for years.
      3. By this reasoning: should the current curators have the ability to vote in their first two years?
  4. Criticism: This policy would be inconsistent with others across other institutions across the state
    1. ASUM’s Response:
      1. The UM System is the ONLY university in the state whose governing board is comprised of representation by the US Congressional Districts and therefore is the ONLY institution that would be effected by a loss of a congressional district.
      2. Previous bills, HB613 and SB106 of the 2007 Session included multiple campuses around the state.
      3. The UM System is the land-grant institution and is home to many unique legislative actions.
  5. Criticism: The makeup of the Board is unclear if we don’t lose a district.
    1. ASUM’s Response:
      1. The makeup wouldn’t change – this statute would be inactive and could be taken off of the books.   The statute explicitly cites the 2010 Census for possible change.
      2. All current news sources are indicating Missouri is slated to lose a Congressional district
  6. Criticism: May disrupt the regional climate, giving one region more power over another
    1. ASUM’s Response:
      1. One region would not have more power over another; each district would still be represented by 1 vote.
      2. This is unrealistic because the Board votes not on regional constituencies but by what is best for the UM system
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The Associated Students of the University of Missouri, a student lobbying group, has fought for years to pass legislation that would give the student representative to the UM System Board of Curators a vote on the board. And students in the group don’t want to give up fighting after Gov. Matt Blunt vetoed the bill last week.

ASUM met Saturday to discuss its strategy to lobby legislators to override the veto. That would take a two-thirds vote in both the Missouri House and Senate. This session, the Senate passed the bill 31-2 and the House passed it 100-47, which is seven votes short of a two-thirds majority after absent representatives are factored in.

The veto session begins Sept. 10, and so far the curator bill is the only one to be vetoed by Blunt. ASUM legislative director Ally Walker said via teleconference at the meeting that she wasn’t worried about getting a two-thirds vote in the Senate, but that Majority Leader Charlie Shields could potentially sit on the bill and keep it from being brought to the floor. Walker said she also wanted to speak with legislators that are outspoken against Blunt to keep them from shaking things up and rather have them look ahead at the task at hand.

“We need to move forward in a positive, pro-student way,” Walker said.

ASUM board chairman Craig Stevenson said he hopes to unite the Missouri Federation of College Republicans and the Young Democrats of Missouri to support the bill.

“I want to form a coalition to show this is not a partisan issue,” Stevenson said. “It’s a student issue.”

ASUM also plans to hold a student lobbying day at the Capitol, have letter-writing campaigns and create an official statement and response to Blunt’s veto, all in an effort to get the General Assembly to override the veto. Stevenson also created a Facebook group to promote awareness.

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The Associated Students of the University of Missouri, a student lobbying group, is meeting Saturday afternoon in Kansas City to discuss its strategy to override Gov. Matt Blunt’s veto of a bill on Wednesday. The bill would have given the student representative to the UM System Board of Curators a vote on the board, if Missouri lost a congressional district in the 2010 census.

There were lots of responses to Blunt’s vetoing of the bill. The curators voted in May to oppose the legislation, but student groups and the student curator himself were in favor of it. ASUM board chairman Craig Stevenson said UM System President Gary Forsee will be at the meeting. I’ll be following the lobbying efforts of ASUM as the students try to get the legislature to override the veto, and check to see whether the curators will be lobbying anymore against this bill.

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It seemed that everyone needed to say something about Gov. Matt Blunt’s decision on Wednesday to veto a bill that would have made the student representative to the UM Board of Curators a voting member on the board.
Right now, the board has nine members — one for each Missouri congressional district — and the student curator is a tenth, non-voting member. After the 2010 census, if Missouri lost a congressional district, this bill would have instated the student curator as the ninth voting member. But that’s no longer the case. Here are the widespread responses after Blunt announced his plans to veto the bill:

*First, Blunt himself: “The current make-up of the University of Missouri’s governing board carefully balances numerous factors and interests,” Gov. Blunt said. “Any fundamental change to the board’s construction should be crafted to solve problems, not create them. This legislation would have created ‘stakeholder’ representatives which is a significant problem because today the nine curators represent the university as a whole rather than a specific university interest, cause or stakeholder group. The legislation would have also been inconsistent with the statutory method used to select these curators and the student curator would only serve a short time compared with the other board members.”

*The bill’s sponsor, Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, had this to say: “Because of his action, he will forever be remembered as the governor that believes student opinion is worthless, and that the student curator is too stupid to have a meaningful vote.”

*Tony Luetkemeyer, the current student curator, had this to say in an interview Wednesday afternoon: “This was an important bill the governor needed to sign to show his support for education and show his support for students,” Luetkemeyer said. “I wish the governor had seen it that way.”

*Craig Stevenson is the board chairman of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. This student lobbying group made the curator bill one of its top legislative priorities this session. He said this in an ASUM news release: “The students of the University of Missouri are deeply troubled by this veto. ASUM intends to overcome Governor Blunt’s veto and encourages those who are concerned about higher education issues to become involved by contacting their local representatives and senators. With the help of our friends in the legislature, students will rally to take on this new challenge in the same bi-partisan manner in which the bill was forged.”

*ASUM legislative director Ally Walker added this: “As a student, it was with disbelief and incomprehension that I learned of Governor Blunt’s veto of SB873. ASUM and students across the state feel it is important that our opinion be indelibly recorded with a vote on our governing board. While Governor Blunt may disagree with this philosophy, students must continue to fight for what they believe to be right, and will continue to do so in the future.”

*Young Democrats of Missouri President Rick Puig: “I am appalled, insulted and, unfortunately, unsurprised.” said Rick Puig, President of the Young Democrats of Missouri. “Matt Blunt has a track record of brushing aside Missourians, whether they are individuals in need of healthcare of voiceless students at our State’s great universities. With that being said, a veto of legislation with such overwhelming support is bold even for the Governor.”

*Missouri Ninth Congressional District Candidate Ken Jacob, a democrat: “This veto is a product of curators being chosen based on political contributions, not on the ability to govern the University of Missouri. Missouri students should have a voice in the governance of their University.”

Also, Blunt’s office released prepared statements from many of the curators, who in May voted to oppose this legislation. Here are some of their responses:

*Former Curator Thomas Atkins: “As a past member of the Board of Curators I enjoyed working with university students to ensure that their needs were addressed by the board. I know that Governor Blunt made the correct decision to veto this flawed legislation which would create a built-in-bias on the Board. This bill is unfair to the student member. Having a shorter term than other curators puts the student under pressure that could negatively impact his or her valuable contribution to the board and the overall decision making process.”

*Curator Warren Erdman: “I have two particular problems with this legislation. First, I believe this legislation to be very unhealthy for the university to establish the precedent of creating stakeholder representatives with voting authority on the Board of Curators. A central strength of the current governing structure comes from the fact that none of the nine curators represent any one, specific group of university stakeholders. This legislation would change that, creating a stakeholder voting representative of one university stakeholder group. I believe that is a bad precedent. Second, because the purpose of having such a voting student curator, as proposed in the legislation, is to have an actual student who is enrolled as a student in the university system during their term as a curator, it would be very difficult to always match such a student curator’s term on the Board of Curators, with that student’s status as an enrolled student, making this legislation awkward and unworkable. I want to thank Governor Blunt for his continued support for higher education and for vetoing this legislation that would have created a stakeholder voting member of the Board of Curators.”

*Board Vice Chairman Bo Fraser: “I commend Governor Blunt for his willingness to veto Senate Bill 873 which is the legislation that creates a voting position on the board of curators of the University of Missouri for a student, should Missouri lose a congressional seat in 2010. There are a number of concerns with Senate Bill 873 that need to be addressed. This veto will provide ample time to study all alternatives and determine the best course for the University of Missouri if we lose the congressional seat in 2010.”

*Curator Judith Haggard: “Governor Blunt has been a champion for education. I am pleased that he vetoed this legislation that would have created a new stakeholder voting position on the Board of Curators.”

*Curator Doug Russell: “The University Board of Curators is designed to be made up of lay members appointed by the governor. This legislation would have created a special class by designating one of those members from one of the University’s constituencies, resulting in two different classes of curators and creating a biased constituent seat. Governor Blunt made the correct decision by vetoing this legislation.”

*Board Chairwoman Cheryl Walker: “I’d like to personally thank and applaud Governor Blunt for his actions today. Governor Blunt has consistently demonstrated his support for Higher Education in Missouri and for the University of Missouri in particular. How redistricting should impact the University of Missouri should not be decided in advance of exploring, developing and studying all options that may be available in the event our state loses a Congressional seat in 2010. Governor Blunt’s actions demonstrate his continued understanding and appreciation of the role of the University of Missouri in our great State and that alterations to the make up of the voting membership of the Board should not be decided in a vacuum.”

*Curator Don Walsworth: “I have had the pleasure of working with three different student curators and I believe the basic philosophy for the student curator on the Board is to give input to the Board regarding student affairs and their concerns. The governance of the University should remain in the hands of lay board which has no specific agenda for any one constituency. I commend Governor Blunt for his careful and thoughtful veto of this legislation ensuring the integrity of the Board.”

*Curator David Wassinger: “Although the current student representative’s input has been invaluable to the Board, this legislation is premature in that a congressional district has not yet been eliminated, and other alternatives have not been adequately explored if Missouri loses a congressional district.”

For my full story on the big veto, check here.

For more on this issue, click here.

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You won’t be able to see through the textbooks, but a bill signed by Gov. Matt Blunt on Wednesday aims to make the information more transparent.

The Textbook Transparency Act, sponsored by Rep. Jake Zimmerman, D-Olivette, will require textbook publishers to make all items in a textbook bundle available separately, and disclose the cost of the textbooks to professors. Before passing the bill, the Missouri Senate amended it to state that the textbook companies would disclose the prices at which they would sell it to the University Bookstore, not the suggested retail price.

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