1 member of UW trustees OK with defeated constitutional amendment proposed in different form

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LARAMIE, Wyoming — A proposed constitutional amendment to allow people outside of Wyoming to serve on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees failed convincingly at the polls, at least one trustee says it might be worth bringing up again in a slightly different form.

Trustee Jeff Marsh said he would like to see the amendment proposed again in the future.

"This was in no way intended to take insight or opinions away from the state constituency," Marsh said. "I would like to see it get voted on again, but perhaps changed so it requires the candidate to be a UW alum."

The amendment rejected by 70 percent of those voting on it Nov. 4 would have effectively allowed the governor to appoint no more than two out-of-state residents to serve on the 13 member board that oversees the state's only four-year, public university.

Under the proposal, out-of-state members would have been required to show "verifiable and demonstrable interest," combined with a significant tie to UW.

The UW Board of Trustees refused to take an official position on the matter although several members expressed their support of the amendment on a personal level.

Marsh did not express his support prior to the election, but he told the Laramie Boomerang (http://bit.ly/11mlInh ) that he voted in favor of the amendment.

A major motivation for the amendment was at more than half of UW graduates no longer live in Wyoming, rendering it difficult to find distinguished alumni to serve on the board.

"The lament in the state has been that our kids are leaving," Rep. Kermit Brown, R-Laramie, said. "If you look at how many law grads are practicing down on 17th Street in Denver, the measuring stick is what they do in Denver. Over half of our alums live out of state. When you consider those two factors, I think it's appropriate to have a couple trustees who are successful and have ties to UW."

Brown said he didn't expect the amendment to pass because no advocacy group backed it and many votes likely didn't know about it until they saw it on the ballot.

"I think at first blush, their reaction is just, 'No,'" he said.

Chris Boswell, UW's vice president for government and community relations, said it will be up to legislators whether to bring the idea up again.

"This was not a university initiative," Boswell said. "While there was some informal support for it among UW trustees, it was not something the trustees have asked for."

Information from: Laramie Boomerang, http://www.laramieboomerang.com

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