‘They aren’t here’

Published in The Rebel Yell issue 11/01/2007

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Regent Steve Sisolak is far from happy with student government’s lack of involvement when it comes to problems on the UNLV campus.

At a press conference held on campus Tuesday, Sisolak spoke candidly about the challenges facing the Nevada System of Higher Education but his disappointment in UNLV student government resonated above all other issues.

“Student government has the chance to be more active – they just aren’t here,” Sisolak said.

As he was answering questions about the recently approved orthodontics program, Sisolak, the one regent who voted against the program, said a little help from student government would have come in handy in working toward the best interest of students.

“I wish I had student government there to support me,” he said.

He added that he voted against the program because it was costing non-orthodontic students money. As a strong opponent against unnecessary fees in his nine years of serving on the Board of Regents, Sisolak felt more students would support him in the decision to stop the program and save students $50.

Student government however, was silent on the issue.

Student Body President Adriel Espinoza has spoken at Board of Regents meetings, but Sisolak said he never knows if Espinoza is really voicing his own opinions, the opinions of the student body in general, or if he is just acting like a puppet for the administration.

“I’m not too enlightened about [the orthodontics program],” Espinoza admitted. He also said that if leadership like President David B. Ashley, Provost Neal Smatresk and Chancellor Jim Rogers were all trying to keep the program alive, there must be something there worth saving.

“I have confidence in the leadership,” he said

In reference to Rogers’ tuition increase proposal, Sisolak said that if this proposal goes through the problems he would like to tackle with the extra funds would be parking and students being able to enroll in the classes they need.

Though students have been dealing with these problems for years, Sisolak said the regents have never heard any lobbying from student government to get them solved.

“I can tell you how many times your president has come to me to lobby – zero. I can tell you how many times he has come to me to tell me his opinion – zero,” Sisolak said. “I thought student government should be more [in college] than what it was in elementary school.”

“I don’t want to go to the regents before I go to the administration,” responded Espinoza. “I don’t want to overstep or upset anyone.”

Sisolak however, encouraged all UNLV students to go to the Board of Regents meetings and voice their opinions.

“You are the ones who have to go to school here. We will listen to you,” he said.

Sisolak said he is devoted to the students and UNLV’s campus. He said that if students have complaints or problems with issues on campus, they can also call, mail or email the regents.

“The only reason I became a regent is because of you guys,” Sisolak said.

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