The Maneater

ASUM pushes for confirmation of curators’ student representative

Incoming ASUM Executive Director Steven Chaffin: “We’re undergoing the process of selecting a new UM System president, and we’re seeing that students aren’t going to stand to not have their voices heard at the administrative level.”

Nearly two months after Gov. Jay Nixon appointed the new student representative to the UM System Board of Curators on March 10, the position is still vacant and the appointee still awaits Missouri Senate confirmation.

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri released a statement Tuesday expressing discontent over the delay in MU junior Patrick Graham’s confirmation.

ASUM said in the statement that it has “heard numerous concerns from students about the prospect that the current nominee for student representative … will not be confirmed this session,” which ends May 13.

In the statement, ASUM asked Gov. Jay Nixon to make a recess appointment, which would allow Graham to serve on the board until January 2017, when the Senate would have 30 days to confirm or deny his nomination. The Gubernatorial Appointments Committee is in charge of scheduling confirmations and has yet to schedule Graham’s confirmation hearing. Ron Richard, chairman of the committee, could not be reached for comment.

Other Missouri schools have not had the same problem; Truman State University’s student representative was appointed in April and has already been confirmed.

Incoming ASUM Executive Director Steven Chaffin said ASUM wanted to emphasize that there are processes in place to ensure that a student representative can still serve in the interim even if not confirmed.

“We’re undergoing a time of great change on our campus,” Chaffin said. “We’re undergoing the process of selecting a new UM System president, and we’re seeing that students aren’t going to stand to not have their voices heard at the administrative level.”

In a statement to KOMU, UM System spokesman John Fougere said that the presidential search committee allows student voices to be heard.

“The two students on the committee are two more than were on the committee during the last presidential search," Fougere said.

Chaffin said ASUM had spent time gathering information and discussing the situation with Graham to make sure their statement represented the situation accurately. Graham could not be reached for comment.

“This is a situation unlike any we’ve had in recent years, and it’s just extra scrutiny on the university,” Chaffin said. “Pretty much every process that normally would just slide by has been a little more contentious and watched a little more closely.”

ASUM has historically advocated for a voting role for the student representative, but Chaffin said this year it “hasn’t gotten very far” because of the “volatile environment” on campus. He said he is currently developing a mental health legislative platform and is beginning one addressing sexual assault.

“I certainly support the idea of having a student voting curator, and the majority of ASUM feels the same way, but I want to make sure it’s something that is viable,” he said. “I do think there might be a benefit to setting it aside temporarily to let some of the current lawmakers get out of office, to allow us to establish our credibility through other means.”

Edited by Nancy Coleman | ncoleman@themaneater.com

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