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Editorial: Regents Put Higher Ed First

Corruption in Government is as just about as cliché as you can get. It should come as no surprise to anyone that two state officials resigned on Friday due to unapproved raises that were granted.

We’ve heard so many stories similar to this that the media coverage surrounding the scandal was minimal. The lack of reaction by the public shows just how old this type of story is.

We’ve seen and heard it all before. An official comes under criticism and before he or she can be fired they resign.

But what’s commendable about this situation is the Board of Regents’ abruptness in finding an interim President to replace Robert A. Kennedy. The board made it clear several times in its emergency meeting Friday that the higher education reform must take precedence over internal issues that it had with unapproved raises.

While Lewis Robinson, chairman, expressed his regret for Kennedy’s actions and acknowledged all the good work that he has done, it didn’t cause him to bat an eyelash when the board replaced him only hours after word of his resignation.

The Board of Regents has done far too much work for it to be temporarily stalled because of your stock-standard political scandal. The most significant measure that the board has taken involves creating a system-wide curriculum that will apply to all CSU schools and the community colleges. If all goes well, within a few years a student entering a community college will have their General Education and Major pathway all mapped out for them, a luxury that students today aren’t afforded.

What the board is trying to do could significantly improve the state’s graduation and retention rate that would get students out into the workforce much quicker. This would presumably also allow more students to outright graduate. Producing a simpler system would more than likely also decrease the amount of college drop-outs. It would be a win-win for all parties involved.

The entire board shouldn’t be punished for what happened with Kennedy. As far as the public knows, not a single board member had any knowledge of what happened. In response, the board distanced itself from the situation by naming an interim President the very same week that the scandal was revealed.

The fact that the board acted immediately and endorsed Phillip Austin is admirable. Michael Fraser, a student elect said that he and a lot of other board members were not surprised by Kennedy’s resignation, and knew that they needed to take action. The board should be applauded for taking the initiative to move on and continue with their role towards the state’s higher education system putting the students first.