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Gov. Abbott appoints new student regent

A law center 3L will be the next student regent for the UH System. Eleven students were appointed on Thursday to different higher education boards by Gov. Greg Abbott. | Photo courtesy of John Fields

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday appointed the next student regent to the University of Houston System Board of Regents.

John Fields, a 3L law student and C. T. Bauer College of Business alumnus, will be the student regent for the next year. The student regent is responsible for overseeing university activities, such as curriculum, budgets and programs offered.

“I am honored and grateful for the chance to serve in this capacity in my final year as a student at the University of Houston,” Fields said on Twitter. “I am looking forward to a wonderful year.”

Fields first learned of the position in 2014, when Asit Shah was appointed to the Board of Regents, he said. He applied in November and went through the seven month process in hopes of being the student voice on the board.

“I have experienced much of what the University of Houston offers as both a student and as an employee working for the (UH) General Counsel’s Office,” Fields said in an email. “I hope to learn the perspectives of students across the four universities within the system and bring those perspectives to the board.”

Fields’ term will last until May 31, 2020.

The board of regents oversees the four universities in the UH System. The governor appoints one student to the board each year for the UH System and other Texas’ universities.

Abbott appointed 10 students to different universities and one student representative to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, according to a news release.

The process to be appointed to the board of regents is extensive and selective.

Applicants are required to submit their paperwork to the Student Government Association by the end of November. When applications close, the candidates are sorted through before five are selected to be considered by the system Chancellor Renu Khator.

After the chancellor selects two to four applicants by February 1, they are recommended to the governor for final say. “A student regent has the same powers and duties as the members of the board of regents of the system, including the right to attend and participate in meetings of the board of regents,” according to the UH website.

While the website says student regents duties are the same, the position’s powers are limited. They cannot vote, and do not count in meeting minimum attendance required for a vote.

“As Student Regent, the responsibilities include attending events and meeting with students, faculty, and administrators from across the University of Houston System,” Fields said.

There are 10 members on the UH System Board of Regents, including the student representative.

Fields is president of the Federalist Society and a member of the Mock Trial Team, according to a news release.

The last student regent was Andrew Teoh, who graduated in May with accounting and finance degrees.

Fields said he hopes his time as regent helps students from all parts of the UH system.

“I hope to gain insight into the unique strengths and priorities of each of the universities within the University of Houston System in order to serve the students to the best of my ability,” Fields said.

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