University of Nebraska Board of Regents

Term: Six Years

Board Size: Eight (plus four non-voting student Regents)

Candidates:

District 4:  Bob Whitehouse and Larry Bradley
District 8:  Ann Ferlic Ashford and Hal Daub

Why you should care:

– A strong university system is essential to the educational, economic, medical and cultural health of Nebraska.

- The Board of Regents supervises the general operations of the university and the control and direction of all expenditures. Their decisions determine whether tuition is affordable and education accessible to students from all backgrounds.

Who you should vote for:

District 4:  Bob Whitehouse (R)

Bob Whitehouse has represented District 4 since 2006, and is a former Chairman of the Board of Regents.  We believe his experience in education, his track record as Regent and forward-thinking views on research and the University’s ability to impact the entire state make him the right representative for District 4.

Mr. Whitehouse has worked in education his entire career, including as a high school principal and as an educational consultant.  He is an advocate for early childhood education in particular and notes the potential for the University of Nebraska to become a leader in this area through the Buffett Early Childhood Education Institute.  He plans to continue to prioritize the work of the Institute if re-elected.

Mr. Whitehouse’s greatest concern while serving on the Board of Regents has been to keep tuition affordable.  He has helped launch new programs for students in need of financial aid including Collegebound Nebraska. He noted that when tuition rates increase, financial aid must increase by an equal or greater percentage.

Mr. Whitehouse has demonstrated his commitment to legislation and university policies that provide equal opportunity to students and staff.  He voted in support of the University of Nebraska’s adoption of an Employee+1 benefits package when Nebraska joined the Big Ten.  Employee+1 extends benefits to domestic partners.  He called the move “the right thing to do” and “a big step forward for our University system”.  He also supports the Dream Act, a legislative bill passed in 2006, which allows undocumented students living in Nebraska to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements.  He believes these students can “make a great impact” on Nebraska if given the opportunity.

Mr. Whitehouse has “remained steadfast” in his support of adult and embryonic stem cell research on university campuses to keep the University of Nebraska competitive with other institutions. He believes strongly that research conducted at the University should focus on areas that impact Nebraska and its economy, namely fuel, food and water.  He believes Nebraska can be a world leader in agricultural research.

District 8:  Ann Ferlic Ashford (R)

As a woman, an attorney and a business executive, Ann Ferlic Ashford would bring both diversity and a business perspective to the currently all-male Board of Regents.  We believe her strong focus on keeping rising tuition costs in check, matching curriculum to the job market and innovating to make the University system match the changing world around it make her the right choice to represent District 8 as Regent.

Ms. Ashford believes the most pressing issue facing the Board of Regents is the rising cost of education.  To address rising tuition rates, Ms. Ashford would propose a one year freeze on tuition.  She also believes the University system needs to find waste, eliminate duplication and control and monitor spending.  She feels that the University must “turn ourselves into flexible organizations that can address our students’ needs on a global basis in a more cost effective manner”.

With a background in human resources, Ms. Ashford is focused on matching educational programs with the ever-changing job market to ensure students have opportunities upon graduation.  She also seeks to to increase the number of on-time graduates.

Ms. Ashford is supportive of legislation and university policies that provide equal opportunity to students and staff.  She agrees with the University of Nebraska’s adoption of an Employee+1 benefits package when Nebraska joined the Big Ten.  Employee+1 extends benefits to domestic partners.  She also supports the Dream Act, a legislative bill passed in 2006, which allows undocumented students living in Nebraska to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements.  She calls the Dream Act “not only an ethical decision but a fiscally sound one as well”.  Ms. Ashford believes that the State should help students study in Nebraska and remain in Nebraska “to become productive and tax paying individuals, adding exponentially to our State’s financial well being”.  Ms. Ashford has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Inclusive Communities, an organization committed to confronting prejudice, bigotry and discrimination through educational programs.

Ms. Ashford is supportive of both adult and embryonic stem cell research and is against bringing the issue back for a vote. She is committed to listening to her constituents and making progress as Regent.

To view the unedited Q&A from Bob Whitehouse, Larry Bradley and Ann Ferlic Ashford, click here. (Hal Daub did not submit a response to our request.)