Candidate: Board of Regents needs to be (more?) transparent in its decision-making

At last night’s Capitol interviews of candidates for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, one candidate appeared to echo criticism of the seemingly opaque nature of how the board comes to its decisions.

Regents have been criticized recently for how they dealt with the state open-meetings law in their interviews with President-elect Eric Kaler. They essentially met with him privately in small groups that never reached the size necessary to trigger an open meeting.

The Minnesota Daily student paper has also scolded the board, sketching it as a clubby, rubber-stamp body that puts consensus over healthy dissent.

When asked last night about major regents decisions that have greatly affected the U, 3rd Congressional District candidate Norman Rickeman replied (and the quote is not verbatim) that he was concerned about a potential lack of real debate among the regents on significant issues:

“I’m not that familiar (with recent decisions) … but I’ve seen videos (of meetings.) I understand the public access nature of meetings. Everything has been driven underground. … If I don’t see a board of regents debating tough issues publicly, then is it an oversight board? Is it a consent agenda board? I don’t think regents should be one-on-one advisers to the president.”

When Sen. John Peterson asked him if he’d be willing to hold town hall meetings with districts he’d represent, Rickeman said yes — but would like to have the regents there to discuss the issues in public.

Rickeman, a retired managing partner of Accenture, was beaten out by incumbent David Larson.