By Linda Nguyen
It’s a historic, but not unanticipated, move.
In the spring, the Board of Regents announced the appointment of a faculty member, Todd Still, chair of the Faculty Senate, and a student, Student Body President Kelly Rapp, as non-voting members of the Board of Regents. The new regents began serving their one-year terms at the beginning of the fiscal year.
This is the first time a student has been appointed to the Board of Regents, giving the student body an active voice in Board meetings. The same is true for the faculty regent.
Rapp said he is anxious to start serving the Baylor community as a regent.
“I am honored and humbled to serve and look forward to contributing in any way that I can,” Rapp said.
Other members of student government said they are excited about Rapp’s appointment.
“We’ve been actively pushing this, getting a student voice on the board, for years,” said Fort Worth sophomore Dallena Nguyen. Nguyen is a sophomore class senator. “We finally got it through, so it was a big deal when it passed,” Nguyen said.
“It’s such an honor for Kelly to serve on the Board of Regents. He loves Baylor and will do his best to serve the students like he is doing as student body president,” said Houston senior and internal vice president Brian Kim.
Having a student representative on the Board of Regents will allow students to have input in the various issues facing the university, Nguyen said.
“I know my opinions are getting put out as they’re making decisions,” Nguyen said. “I know one of my peers is in there putting my voice out there.”
Nguyen said she believes the student appointed to the Board of Regents will continue to be the student body president.
“As of right now, it will be the student body president because all of the students vote for the student body president, so he’s a good representative of the student body,” Nguyen said.
Rosalie Beck, associate professor of religion and former chair of the Faculty Senate, said she is also happy about the new appointments.
“We feel very, very fine about it,” Beck said. “It’s a wonderful idea to have the faculty be in contact with the Board of Regents. The Chair of the Senate is a logical choice, much like we’re pleased that Mr. Rapp has been selected to serve on the Board of Regents.”
Richard Willis, chairman of the Baylor Board of Regents, said of the new appointments that he wants to make sure the Board is serving Baylor by tackling issues important to students and faculty members.
“We’d really like to know what’s important to students,” Willis said. “What are the issues students are thinking about and what the faculty is thinking about.
Willis said the newly-appointed regents have only attended one meeting so far.
“There’s not a lot you can do at your first meeting,” Willis said. “The summer session is when we talk about ideas and direction. There’s not a lot of opportunity for them to do things, but it was great having them at the meeting.
Willis said it will take time for both positions to begin to see their influence.
“You can’t jump in and immediately have an impact,” Willis said.
Willis also said he hopes having a faculty member and student on the board will also allow students to understand how the Board works.
“It’s good for them to get information on what they do on the Board of Regents, why we decide to do things a certain way,” Willis said.
According to the Board of Regents bylaws, only the chairman of the Board of Regents speaks for the Board of Regents. Neither Rapp nor Still can offer comment as a regent.
Because of this, Willis said he is pleased with Rapp’s maturity despite being the only student on the board.
“He’s doing a great job,” Willis said of Rapp. “I admire him for what he does and that he has the maturity to do what the other regents do. The president speaks for the university and the chairman speaks for the Board of Regents and he understands that.”