Former SGA pres on Board of Regents

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SHSU graduate student, Spencer Copeland, serves as a student regent for the Board of Regents. Copeland is the only student on the board representing 86,000 students within the Texas State University system.
“It’s only one student per system or per independent school system,” Copeland said. “It’s my job to be the voice of students inside of these discussions, and to be present during all of the meetings that happen.”
Copeland was appointed his position by Governor Abbott last summer. His term is from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016.
“It’s a whole long application process that any student can go through,” Copeland said. “Any student inside of any public school system across the state can apply to be the student member for their board of regents.”
The application is an application for appointment through the governor’s office. After the student completes it, it is submitted to Vice President of Student Services Frank Parker, then to President Dana G. Hoyt and finally to the chancellor.
“It’s a whole process,” Copeland said. “I applied last December and didn’t hear anything until like April for an interview, and then nothing again until like July.”
Copeland said he was hesitant at first, but then his professor encouraged him to apply for the position.
“When an opportunity comes, take it- you can learn from it,” Copeland said. “I don’t think I’m going to make a career out of it, but it’s been interesting. It’s [about] being as active as I possibly can to encourage students to be involved in system policies, even if it’s just inside of your own classroom.”
The board meets in person once a quarter and holds several teleconferences before the physical meetings. The board may have a teleconference every day the week prior to the quarterly meeting.
“Things that I’m involved in would be any kind of curriculum changes [such as] additions to degree programs, adding new degrees, construction, budget cycles and audits,” Copeland said. We talk about it, figure out what’s best for the system, and make sure that each school is doing what they need to do.”
Copeland is expected to remain neutral during the meetings and cannot show favoritism to SHSU. He does not receive pay for his duties as a Regent, but he does get reimbursed for his traveling expenses.
“The legal term is ‘judiciary role,’” Copeland said. “Basically it’s a role of trust that I’m not supposed to get involved with day to day stuff- like for me to step into SGA would be completely inappropriate.”
Copeland served as student body president last year. He said he occasionally attends meetings, but refrains from participating in the issues.
“Through student government, I saw a lot of the issues that are involved with higher education… as well as I got to know some of the regents before I became one myself,” Copeland said. “I’ve learned through SGA more so as regent there’s nothing that’s black and white. Everything is some kind of shade of grey. Things are far more complicated than you ever wish they were but it does help to put things into perspective and understand…even though decisions are made that may not make any sense at first, there is rational behind them.”
Copeland is also a member of Orange Keys. He majors in Homeland Security and hopes to one day have a federal level occupation.
“It’s not easy by far, but these are all things that I enjoy,” Copeland said. “There’s nothing I do that I don’t enjoy, and if I don’t enjoy it then I don’t do it. Even though it’s going to be work, it still can be fun; it still can be rewarding so that’s kind of the motivation that I have to keep going and to do all of this stuff.”