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Student Curator Senate Committee Hearing

Student Curator Legislation: SB. 320

This week the Missouri Senate held a hearing in the Financial and Governmental Organizations and Elections Committee, chaired by Senator Jay Wasson (R-20), on SB 320 sponsored by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-19) from Columbia. SB 320 requires that a voting student member be placed on the University of Missouri Board of Curators.In the weeks before the hearing, legislative interns met with members of the committee to discuss the bill and ask for support.  Many of the members were unsure of their opinion on the bill and discussed their arguments for and against the legislation with the interns along with asking any questions they had.

Committee Hearing
At the hearing, members of the committee had questions for Senator Kurt Schaefer about the bill.  Senator Wayne Wallingford (R-27) had questions about the current Board of Curators and the laws regarding appointments by the governor.  Senator Schaefer responded that a governor has never appointed a student as a curator from a congressional district and argued that it would be very unlikely for a governor to appoint one in the future.  Senator Schaefer then explained that for a student to have a voice it should be required by law that a voting student be placed on the board.  Senator Paul LeVota (D-11) commented that he had a daughter at the University of Missouri and did not understand why the bill would face any opposition. 

 Intern Nicholas Charalambides Testifies
Legislative Intern Nicholas Charalambides testified on behalf of ASUM and in favor of SB 320. Charalambides articulated these key points in favor of SB 320:
·      Students pay more of the University of Missouri System’s budget than the state.
·      There are currently 9 members on the board, but only 8 congressional districts.  One district in overrepresented and a voting student curator would replace the 9th member at large.
·      A voting student member would bring a different first-hand perspective to the board that non-student members may lack.
·      33 other states have universities with a voting student curator.
Intern Charalambides’ testimony concluded the hearing on SB 320.  The committee will vote on the bill in executive session in the next few weeks.  Hopefully, SB 320 will get its chance on the Senate floor. In 2008 a bill similar to SB 320 was passed by the House and Senate with bipartisan support, but was vetoed by Governor Blunt.

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