Haley Townsend - Copy Editor

Williams meets press Photo by Justin Massey This morning at 10 a.m., a crowd of around 100 gathered outside of Bartow Arena in the brisk November air to hear State Rep. Jack Williams, R-Williams, talk a bout a proposed amendment to reform the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees (UA BOT).

The UA BOT’s track record proves their bias against UAB and UAH, its critics say. In 2011, UAB was denied an on-campus stadium and UAB students felt that the UAB BOT refused to hear their voices. “We went down there two to three years ago for the same thing and it felt like we weren’t heard,” Mason McFarland, a member of the UAB marching band said. “We sat in on a board meeting. But, the board is like 15 UA people, and I bet if 60 Alabama students went down there for the same exact thing, some ‘Roll-Tides’ would’ve been thrown around the room.”

Williams shook hands with attendees, and then passed out his agenda “UA SYSTEM BOT REFORMS” to open the press conference. Williams’ stance is that the board “is broken and needs to be fixed.” Because of this, Williams urges legislature to pass a constitutional amendment so that “voters will have the final say.”

Williams stressed that this amendment goes far beyond football.
He proposed to reform the board to include a greater diversity and fair representation for all universities within the system. This newly proposed board would replace the current administration that Williams feels is saturated with UA graduates–the current board is comprised of 15 UA graduates, and only 2 UAB graduates.

His agenda proposes the following changes in selecting new members:

14 members (2 from each congressional district) selected by the BOT and approved by the Senate.

Governor and State School Superintendent by virtue of their offices.

The Mayors of Huntsville, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.

The County Manager or if none, the President of Jefferson, Madison and Tuscaloosa County Commissions.

The Alumni Chapters of UA, UAB, and UAB would each submit 5 names to the Governor and he or she would elect one individual from each group.

Two at-large in state members would be added. One would be selected by the President of the Senate and one would be selected by the Speaker of the House.

State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Todd, was then introduced by Williams. She spoke of her support for the reform of the board. “I fight for fairness, and we’re treated unfair,” Todd said. “We will no longer be treated like a step-child.”

When asked by a member of the media if the legislature will continue in its historical manner of opposing what the UA BOT opposes, Williams replied, “there’s a first time for everything.”

A member of the press stated that the proposed amendment would not see a vote until 2016; some speculate that UAB football may be gone by then. Williams answered, “Again, this is not about football, this is about the ongoing struggles of UAB.”