Governor candidates not opposed to student curator bill

ASUM is attempting to give the student curator a vote.

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri's fight for the student curator bill isn't over yet.

The student curator bill, which passed in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate before it was vetoed by Gov. Matt Blunt, would have given the student representative voting rights if Missouri lost a congressional district after the 2010 census. Currently, the board is comprised of nine members, one from each of the state's congressional districts.

Although Blunt's veto of the bill was upheld by the Missouri General Assembly earlier this month, neither the Republican nor Democratic gubernatorial candidates would oppose the idea of a voting student member on the UM system's governing board, their respective spokesmen, Scott Baker and Oren Shur said.

U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., is the Republican candidate and Attorney General Jay Nixon, is the Democratic candidate.

"Mr. Hulshof is open to the idea of having a voting student on the Board of Curators," Baker said. "If we do lose a congressional seat after the next census then that would be one way to do that."

Nixon has voiced his support of student representation.

"As governor, Jay Nixon will work with the Board of Curators, members of the legislature and the students to make sure that the student body is properly represented," Shur said. "Jay's primary focus, however, is making sure that more middle-class Missourians have the opportunity to afford college in the first place. During these tough economic times, with tuition skyrocketing, more families are getting squeezed out of a college education."

With November elections approaching quickly and the prospect of a new set of senators and representatives at the Capitol, ASUM Board Chairman Craig Stevenson is preparing the student curator bill for yet another run at the House and Senate. Stevenson said the association plans to have the bill ready in January.

"One thing that we don't have to work on this time is educating people about the bill," Stevenson said. "People are familiar with the issue. We just have to make sure we keep the people who supported us the first time."

Simultaneously, ASUM is maintaining ties with supporters of the bill.

"We're currently in contact with the House's speaker pro tem, Bryan Pratt," Stevenson said. "We're staying in touch with Sen. Chuck Graham as well."

Graham, D-Columbia, who's been the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said he would sponsor a similar bill when ASUM once again makes its push for a voting student representative next year.

ASUM's preparations regarding the new student curator bill will extend into the second semester.

"Right now we're not sure if we'll send the bill through the House or the Senate yet," Stevenson said. "We're just making sure we have our ducks in a line for January. We'll have to see how the elections in November shake things up."

 

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