CHEYENNE, WYOMING (Feb. 10, 2020) — Wyoming State Representative Chuck Gray, Republican from Natrona County, has filed HB83 which creates a new process of selecting the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees.
According to a press release from Gray, This new process will create accountability for the University of Wyoming board. The bill conforms to the provisions of the Wyoming State Constitution. With the bill, there will be a primary and general election every four years in each of Wyoming’s seven judicial districts that will narrow the field to two individuals. The Governor will appoint a UW board of trustee from those two individuals. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the board will be narrowed to two individuals in a statewide election every four years. The Governor will also appoint the Chairman from the two nominated individuals. With this bill, the size of the board will be decreased to eight members.
In the release Gray commented, “The board of the University of Wyoming needs to be accountable to the citizens of Wyoming. The current appointment process for the board is not appropriate. Transitioning the appointed board to an elected process will create accountability.”
The press release went on to state, The bill is in response to an overall lack of accountability and direction with the UW board of Trustees. There have been numerous issues, including an overall lack of direction, with four vacancies in the office of the President in six years. The dismissal of President Laurie Nichols occurred without any initial transparency or explanation. Since then, the UW board has used taxpayer funds to try to block the release of the details of the dismissal. The board eventually relented, but it was not acceptable that a lawsuit was required for that basic transparency. Wyoming state government allocates enormous sums of taxpayer dollars to support the university. There needs to be accountability and HB83 creates a process where that occurs.
The HB83 is co-sponsored by State Representatives Mark Jennings and Tim Salazar as well as State Senators Anthony Bouchard and Tom James.