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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Board of Regents hosts final meeting for spring 2017 semester

The April 27 meeting of the Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents saw the approval of a wide variety of items, from new construction to recognition of outstanding Aggies throughout the university system.
Following a closed period of executive session, the Board of Regents gathered in the Bethancourt Ballroom in the Memorial Student Center for the meeting.
Following presentations from Russell E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Office of Facilities Planning and Coordination, the Board approved 8 different construction projects across the university system and one additional project at A&M-Commerce, presented by Commerce President and CEO Ray Keck.
“I would like to thank our Board of Regents for their support and their vision in approving these important projects, which will enhance our ability to serve and educate Texans throughout the state,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.
The approved projects include the construction of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute Headquarters on the RELLIS campus, the Education Complex at A&M-Kingsville, an Academic and Student Services Building at A&M-Texarkana, the Dentistry Clinical Education Facility at the A&M Health Science Center in Dallas. In addition, there will be renovations at Prairie View A&M and West Texas A&M, and energy efficiency improvements at Prairie View A&M and A&M-Commerce.
The Board passed a resolution to increase the athletics fee at A&M-Commerce, a change previously approved by a student referendum. Keck said students in favor of the increase voted with the intent of alleviating faculty shortages at the school.
“All of these monies will be directed toward hiring new faculty,” Keck said. “Because $3.5 million in tuition money was going to athletics and we have a critical shortage in faculty. The idea [is] for athletics to be funded by a fee — as it’s supposed to be, as the system audits told us repeatedly it should be — and to free up the tuition money to be spent on the academic side of the university. That was the reason for the referendum.”
The board also approved a resolution to Recognize Jonathan Espinoza, telecommunications and advertising and public relations junior from West Texas A&M, for receiving the prestigious Harry S. Truman scholarship.
“[The Truman Scholarship] is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders,” Sharp said. “Jonathan Espinoza is a worthy recipient … he served his country first in the united states army, later in the Texas national guard including 15 months in Iraq before enrolling in West Texas A&M … he’s one of only 62 students in the nation and only one of 2 Texas selected as the 2017 Truman Scholars out of a field of nearly 1000 candidates from 315 college and Universities. He’s the first student from any of our regional universities in the A&M system to receive this honor.”
A resolution was passed honoring and remembering cadets from class 1917 who, 100 years ago this month, were released for active duty in the first world war. That year would be the only year  graduation ceremonies were not held at the college as the senior cadets shipped out to join the war effort.
“The Board of Regents always will remember the sacrifices of the Class of 1917,” Chairman Cliff Thomas said. “Those young cadets exemplify the core values that we hold in such esteem as Aggies.”
Stephanie Y. Martinez, 2016-2017 Student Member of the Board of Regents was also recognized with a resolution bestowing the title of Student Regent Emeritus and the Texas A&M Equestrian team was recognized for their victory in the 2017 National Collegiate Equestrian Association national championship.
Venture capitalist Ray Rothrock, Class of 1977, was reappointed to the board of directors of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, which oversees the endowments of both Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.
Early in the meeting, a demonstrator from animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) came to the front of the ballroom to protest animal testing practices at Texas A&M before being escorted out. Throughout the meeting, two more demonstrators stood at the back of the room with signs displaying similar messages against Muscular Dystrophy testing at A&M.

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