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University trustee appointments don't reflect state's demographics

Mar 5, 2017 - Maggi Murdock, Casper


A Feb. 26 press release from Gov. Matt Mead's office included a document listing the governor's nominees for boards and commissions.Included was the list of individuals the governor has nominated to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees.

Two are reappointments: John McPherson and Jeff Marsh . The other two nominees are Kermit Brown from Albany County and David Fall (I) from Gillette. Many of us know Kermit Brown from his work in the Wyoming Legislature as a representative from Albany County. Dr. Fall is a pediatrician from Gillette.

I have nothing against either one of these gentlemen.However, I write today to air my concerns, as I have previously, that the governor's office seems to find only men to serve on the UW Board of Trustees. The last time (2015) I voiced my concerns to the governor's office, I was told that the governor's advisors had tried to find women nominees but they were unsuccessful. Perhaps that will be the response again this year?

The Equality State of Wyoming has a population that is nearly half women (49 percent). The University of Wyoming, the state's only university, has a faculty composed of41 percent women and a student body composed of 53 percent women. Given the demographics of the state and the university, I find it not just puzzling or disconcerting, but unacceptable, that our governor has appointed 11 of the 12 members (92 percent) of the UW Board of Trustees and, of those 11, he has managed to appoint only two (18 percent) women.

I do not know the racial or ethnic backgrounds of the members of the board appointed by the governor, but it appears that in a state that has more than 15,000 residents who are not white, the governor is also unable to find any persons of color to appoint to the Board, either. This is a board that could do with some diversity of opinion, experience and perspective. The governor has missed another opportunity to provide that diversity.

The University of Wyoming belongs to the people of Wyoming.Thus, the concern is not just why the governor seems unable to appoint more women or people of color to the UW Board of Trustees. The larger and more pressing concern is what will be the continuing effects -- for the University and the state -- of a University of Wyoming Board that lacks diversity?

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