Student Regent Brian J. Haley

Daily Texan, February 14, 2007

As the first student member of the UT System Board of Regents, Brian Haley said he didn't want his status as a student to lessen his influence on the board. One year later, Haley departs, still a student, but feeling like a full member, he said.

Haley's one-year term as student regent ended Friday as Randal Matthew Camarillo, third-year medical science student from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, took the official oath as the new student regent. Looking back at his term, Haley said the implementation of a student regent is a great exercise for higher education in Texas.

"I'd be glad to see it continue on for forever," Haley said. "There's a 10th member and a constant student perspective."

Though the UT System student regent is a non-voting member of the Board of Regents, Haley made up for the restriction with travel time, in which regard he may have even extended himself more than the other regents.

"He was one of the few regents that visited all 15 campuses and made a point in doing it early, not wasting any time," said UT- San Antonio President Ricardo Romo. "He was on our campus several times. He came to our campus, talked to students, talked to faculty. We drove him around, he was interested, asked a lot of questions."

As a student, people look to Haley to advocate for student issues, but he does not see the student regent's role as one of representation, but rather of a trustee, Haley said.

Haley said he did his best to voice the views of each community within the UT System.

"But at the end of the day, my final recommendation will be what I think is best for the people of Texas," he said.

If the student regent is to be regarded as any of the other nine board members, the student regent has to view issues from all perspectives, he said.

"You have to get involved in faculty issues, in staff issues, in building issues, in compensation issues," he said. "I've encouraged any student who's talked to me to take that approach, to really take that to heart and not get caught in the aspect of 'I'm here to represent my single campus, and the issues of the students around me' and to really recognize that this is something bigger than that."

Despite Haley's definition of his role, UT Austin President William Powers said Haley represented the student view tirelessly.

His job was to be a regent and give a student perspective on things such as tuition to construction projects, Powers said.

Romo said Haley demonstrated, by his knowledge of what goes on in the minds of a typical student, that he understands students' concerns about increased tuition rates and insufficient housing.

Though Haley is a UT Austin student, Romo said Haley was not biased toward one institution over any other, but showed a general interest in the UTSA needs and expressed his desire to help.

"He himself is paying tuition and understands better than anybody in the room that you gotta be as responsible as you can," Romo said.

Haley continued to attend UT Law School as a full-time student since his term began in Feb. 2006.

"In the fall, I did not have class on Monday or Wednesday, so it allowed me those days to travel," Haley said. "When I traveled, I would take my books with me, my notes and my computer and just get as much done as I could on the road."

Because of potential conflicts of interests, Haley was not able to begin job searching during his term. So, while all his colleagues and friends spent the fall semester securing jobs for the summer, Haley is now just starting that process, he said.

"I am now trying to figure out where I want to live and what I want to do," Haley said.