On Thursday, April 10, the Senate confirmed embattled student regent Christian Hur’s reappointment to the Board of Regents on a 28-22 vote, and in a hurry. Gov. Martz made the reappointment in January; student leaders have been battling it ever since.
The confirmation hearing was originally scheduled for Friday, says Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) president Jon Swan, but was bumped up a day to avoid student backlash at a rally scheduled at the Capitol Rotunda by Montana Associated Students (MAS). Swan says that once more, students were left out of the process.
Did Hur’s camp get the days mixed up? Not a chance, says MAS president Dan Geelan. He, along with ten other student body presidents and scores of students, understood the confirmation would take place as scheduled on Friday and so trekked to Helena to air their concerns about Hur’s reappointment. Geelan termed Friday’s fiasco “quite a lesson in the way government works.”
Since the announcement of Hur’s reappointment in January, MAS has argued that the governor reappointed Hur illegally, since MAS wasn’t contacted in advance or allowed to nominate three candidates, as provided by the Montana Code, says Geelan. At a March meeting, MAS voted 9-2 for a resolution calling on Hur to decline the appointment, but to no avail (see “Appointing a governor’s pet” by Mike Keefe-Feldman, Feb. 13, 2003).
Now MAS is turning up the heat. Hur has been an irresponsible student representative during his two-year term, Geelan says, adding that last week’s shotgun confirmation hearing was no exception. “The message that Hur…and the government is sending to students is not favorable.”
MAS may yet follow through with threats of a lawsuit against the governor’s office over the reappointment, with ASUM having contributed $1,000 and MAS $2,000 toward a legal effort.
To which Hur responds: “I just want to make it clear I support MAS, and the record will show that I can bring their issues forward.”
Barring a reversal, Hur is will serve until July 2004.