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After delay, Minnesota lawmakers to appoint new U of M regents

ST. PAUL — State lawmakers will come together to appoint new members to the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents after all, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Legislative leaders have agreed to call a joint convention at noon Thursday, May 8. Members of both chambers will cast votes for who they think should serve on the university’s governing board. They will fill four vacancies, including a 5th Congressional District seat, two at-large seats and a student seat.

For weeks it looked unlikely that the House and Senate would pick regents. That would have been historic — lawmakers have failed to elect new regents on just four occasions in the past 90 years.

Disagreements among Democrats in the House delayed the selection. Some Democrats wanted the Legislature to boost diversity on the board by appointing four people of color. They argued the university has made little progress in its quest to improve the retention and recruitment of minority students, and that a more diverse Board of Regents would see that these goals are fulfilled.

Republican leadership called the impasse a “historic delay” to a process that should be nonpartisan.

The Legislature’s move to pick regents will take pressure off Gov. Tim Walz, who would have had to fill the vacancies himself had lawmakers not come together.