John LaFond, a Republican candidate running the University Board of Regents, spoke with students last night at a meeting with the University’s chapter of College Republicans, saying he would place a cap on tuition if given the power to do so.
LaFond said he would to work for the taxpayers, keeping the cost of tuition low by reducing excess spending and controlling costs.
Specifically, LaFond said he wanted to evaluate the University’s energy, salary and health care costs and working to reduce them.
“(I would) challenge the leadership of this university — without micromanaging them — to jump out of the box, to think creatively and be able to come up with some solutions to make that happen,” he said of his goal to make college more affordable. “All of you are going to be challenged here, and I don’t know why the administration shouldn’t be challenged as well.”
The Board of Regents is comprised of eight elected members, and elections for two members of the Board are held every two years.
During the discussion, students expressed frustration with textbook costs, which they said were too high.
LaFond asked if textbooks were available online or if they still were buying printed versions of books course packs. After being told that the majority of classes require printed copies, he said he’d like to look into the possibility of electronic versions of books.
“There’s a lesson to be learned here, and we’ll learn it,” LaFond said. “We’ll learn it either the easy way or the hard way. We’ll listen to you.”
LSA sophomore Charles Markman, who attended the meeting, said he thought LaFond was insightful and understanding of students’s concerns. He said he was hopeful LaFond would cut unnecessary spending.
“He has the best economic plan to make school affordable for all students,” Markman said.
LSA freshman Bailey Waterman said she was glad LaFond was committed to keeping costs low at the University, but didn’t know whether he could effectively push for reform. The board currently includes six Democrats and two Republicans.
“I think that he’ll try to do what he can,” she said. “I don’t know how much he can do single-handedly.”