At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, there will be a debate in UMC room 235 among the candidates for CU Regent At Large.
November 7 begins the new term for CU’s Regent At Large, one of several candidates running to replace Republican Pete Steinhauer. UCSU is sponsoring the debate to bring more attention to this important election for students. There will be 300 seats available for this event and students are encouraged to arrive early.
“I think it’s very important that students do voice their opinions on regents,” said Charles Johnson, a senior finance major and one of the tri-executives for UCSU. “It sends a message to regents that (students) are involved and they do care.”
The Regent At Large works with the Board of Regents to implement policies for the university, therefore making it important for students to express whom they feel is the best candidate for the position.
During this last term, Steinhauer and Republican Steve Bosley worked together to define the board and administration, made sure the groups tackled major policy issues and accepted responsibility for hiring and firing the president of the university.
Steinhauer and Bosley’s main focus this past year was to define the responsibilities of the regents, something Bosley would like to see continue.
Along with two independents, Democrat Steve Ludwig, Republican Brian Davidson and Libertarian Daniel Ong are the candidates for this election.
Steve Ludwig, Democratic Candidate
Ludwig plans to improve diversity on campus, contain the rate of increase for tuition and create more class accessibility.
Thirty-nine-year-old Ludwig graduated with a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in 1993. He has held jobs working for the president’s office at CU-Boulder and has owned his own business. He considers both jobs to be assets when it comes to the qualifications and experience for the CU Regent At Large position.
“I have worked at CU, I know how the university works,” Ludwig said. “I have a passion for the student issues and I have owned my own business so I know how to balance the books.”
Ludwig strives to improve diversity on campus, an issue for many students and faculty. Working with the K-12 system in Colorado, he plans to expand the number of diverse students on campus.
“We have to be conscious that there is not one silver bullet for increasing diversity,” Ludwig said. He went on to say that the Board of Regents needs to commit to making diversity a priority.
Ludwig also wants to focus on higher standards for admission requirements into CU. Ludwig said higher standards are a realistic goal, the variable being rural communities and their ability to fund the classes in order to meet the university’s higher standards.
“I am concerned about the students coming from rural schools who don’t have funding,” Ludwig said.
Compared to the highly-funded urban schools, rural schools cannot pay for the more advanced classes as easily. As a result, those students are at a disadvantage when they enter college.
The media image of CU is another issue Ludwig plans to work on. Consistent leadership, consistent output (graduation rate), consistent community outreach and control over tuition are all things that Ludwig said will improve the media image of CU.
One of the priorities of his campaign is to make sure students are treated with respect.
“We are forging our future representatives today,” Ludwig said. “We need to have a service culture (for students).”
Ludwig wants to make sure any contact students have with the university is positive, whether concerning the housing department, the bursar’s office or registering for classes. He said interactions should be as convenient as possible.
Brian Davidson, Republican Candidate
The total costs of attending CU, along with recruiting, retaining and ultimately graduating more students are priorities of Republican candidate Davidson.
Twenty-nine-year-old Davidson has received a Doctor in Medicine from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from the University of Northern Colorado.
He said that one of the most unique things about running is that he is currently a student studying medicine at CU.
Davidson said the most important issues for CU students right now is the cost of higher education and the amount of financial support they receive from the state. He not only wants to focus on getting more funding put toward higher education, he also wants to look at the efficiency of the university and try to cut out unnecessary expenses in the costs of education.
“It is my goal to look at the total cost of higher education in addition to tuition and decrease the total cost of attending CU,” Davidson said.
Tuition currently accounts for about 25 percent of the total cost of going to school in Colorado. Buying books and supplies accounts for another nine percent. Therefore, Davidson said he wants to look at room and board options and book costs to try and lower the total bill.
“Tuition always rises but it needs to be controlled,” Davidson said.
Diversity on the campus is another area Davidson hopes to impact during his term as CU Regent At Large.
“Diversity starts way before higher education,” he said.
Davidson said the three steps to increasing diversity on the CU campus are to recruit, retain and increase graduation rates. He said he wants high school students to have convenient access to college, and once minority students come to campus, there needs to be a comfortable environment for them.
Preparing students for collegiate-level work is also a big issue for the university at this time, and there is a possibility the standards for admission may be raised and possibly implemented in 2008. Davidson said he supports this because of the need for the United States to be competitive with other countries.
“Education standards need to rise with everyone else’s,” Davidson said.
While some issues have come up with funding for more advanced classes in the generally less-funded rural areas, Davidson said the new standards are not impossible for students to achieve.
“In Colorado, and in most states, we have a set of requirements for graduation by credit hours,” Davidson said. “It just says that certain credit hours have to be in certain areas.”
CU’s media image is something Davidson would like to focus on as well by incorporating funding with the image of the university and showing more of CU’s community outreach and efficiency.
“We need to focus on getting the message out about what (CU) does for the people of Colorado,” Davidson said. He also said that if people see their tax dollars going toward the university as an investment, they will be more willing to increase funding toward the school, although the legislature and the general public will have to see evidence that it will be effective.
Daniel Ong, Libertarian Candidate
Ong said he wants to look into alternative forms of education as a way of lowering the costs of school. He also said he wants to spread word to the general public that CU does many good things for students.
Ong currently lives in Boulder and has senior standing in the engineering program at CU. He is a certified electronics technician, and he primarily works in electronics engineering, although he is currently between jobs. He has also taught at the CU-Denver.
Ong said his primary focus is student finances. He said he wants to restore funding for CU to where it was in the late 1990s, as well as make sure other areas funded by the state, such as the jail system, are being used efficiently.
“I think we should stop incarcerating people for non-victim crime,” Ong said. He said that prisons are the biggest growing area of the state budget.
Ong also said he wants to focus on campus diversity, although he said it is not a pressing issue.
“I think in general there is an over-emphasis on (racial diversity),” Ong said. He also said that while he supports CU President Hank Brown for recruiting minorities, diversity has to do with more than just race and includes full-time students, part-time students and intellectual diversity.
Ong, a Chinese-American, knows diversity is an issue on campus, but his main focus is working with the part-time students to ensure they are not discriminated against. CU has a high population of full-time students, and, according to Ong, the part-time students usually have to pay more in comparison to the classes that they are taking.
“I want to work with the board, permanently eliminating discrimination against part-time students,” Ong said.
Alternatives such as online classes as well as the productivity of the faculty are things Ong said should be looked into as ways of saving money.
“I want to look at the overall effectiveness of the educational process,” Ong said.
The media image of CU is something Ong said should be dealt with in an open manner.
“Ultimately, you can’t put a fresh face on a bad situation,” Ong said. “Underlying problems need to be addressed.”
Recently, Davidson and Bosley asked Ong to step down from the election and support Davidson, because they support some of the same issues. Ong did not back down and remains in the race.
“I do understand Brian Davidson and Steve Bosely asking me to step down,” Ong said. “We do share similar views, but I also share views with Steve Ludwig.”
He plans to remain involved with the university, and is planning on working with whomever wins.