By Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter
From the Office of Senator Tom Whatley
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Senate today passed a constitutional amendment without opposition that, if approved by Alabama voters, will revise the makeup of Auburn University’s board of trustees.
Senate Bill 366, sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), updates district lines that are currently based on nine Congressional Districts drawn nearly 50 years ago to seven predefined districts consisting of groupings of whole counties based on Congressional Districts drawn by the Legislature in 2010, and increases the number of at-large positions from three to five.
The bill also staggers trustees’ terms so that no more than two or three positions on the board are vacated in the same year. This measure will alleviate a situation similar to one that arose this year where nine trustee positions were up for appointment at the same time, potentially threatening the University’s accreditation if trustees are not confirmed in a timely manner.
“The Auburn Family recently selected several highly-qualified nominees to serve on the University’s board of trustees. This proposed structure will not interfere with those nominations and I am proud to support each of them through the confirmation process,” Whatley said. “Our goal is to ensure consistency and stability on the board and by bringing district lines up to date and staggering trustee terms, we are doing just that.”
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) commended Senator Whatley for working to do what’s best for Auburn University.
“Our first priority is to make sure the most qualified individuals have the opportunity to serve on Auburn University’s Board of Trustees,” Marsh said. “Senator Whatley’s bill allows the people of Alabama to vote on a plan that streamlines the selection process, guarantees constant rotation of board members and creates two additional at-large seats so anyone can serve on the board, based on their qualifications, regardless of where they live.”
SB366 passed the Senate 29-0 and was referred to the House Ways and Means Education Committee.