Greitens' withdrawal of two curators leaves no student rep on board

In total, there are now five vacancies on the nine-person board.

With the first Board of Curators meeting of 2017 a week from yesterday, the state of the board remains unclear. Newly elected Gov. Eric Greitens withdrew two nominations earlier this week and has yet to make his own appointments — leaving five vacancies on the nine-member board.

Greitens withdrew the nominations of Jon Sundvold and Patrick Graham, an MU senior who served as a nonvoting student representative, on Tuesday. Both were chosen by former Gov. Jay Nixon last June.

Though next week’s meeting is still poised to take place in Columbia, since the board only needs five members present to hold quorum, two curators — Donald Cupps and Pamela Henrickson — will be serving past their term expiration until their replacements are confirmed to the positions.

At the meeting, the curators are likely to discuss how the system will be dealing with the $31.4 million the legislature cut from the UM System for this fiscal year, as well as the $40 million less the system will be receiving from the state during the 2018 fiscal year.

Graham said he submitted his resignation letter to the governor’s office on Wednesday and found out later in the day that his nomination had been withdrawn. However, this does not mean he or Nixon’s other three recess appointments — Sundvold, Tom Voss and Mary Nelson — may not serve on the board at a later time.

Since the four nominees were all recess appointments — they were made while the legislature was not in session — they would need to be confirmed by the state senate within the first 30 days of the next legislative session, or else they would become ineligible to serve in their appointed positions.

Voss and Nelson resigned last month, avoiding becoming ineligible to serve as curators, and Graham said this was his motivation to resign his position, as well.

Graham said he does not know whether the governor will reappoint him for the student representative position, but he said student government leaders are currently taking applications for others interested in the position.

“The goal here is to make sure that we minimize the time that the board meets without a student representative,” he said. “I’m not sure what the interview and application process is — it’s mainly being handled by Missouri Students Association President Sean Earl and Graduate Professional Council President Rachel Bauer.”

The board holds five official meetings per year. With the first meeting of the year next week, Graham said to have a meeting without a student representative is not ideal.

“I am hopeful Gov. Greitens will appoint my replacement and the other curator vacancies as soon as possible,” Graham said. “I know there are a lot of appointments that a new administration has to deal with during their first month in office, but I truly believe the University of Missouri Board of Curators is one of the most important boards in the state.”

The governor's office has not responded to requests for comment.

Edited by Kyle LaHucik |

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