An analysis of the minutes from Regents for Higher Education meetings over the last five years shows that the Regents have voted unanimously in 822 of the 828 votes since January 2007. The six agenda items that did not get unanimous votes still ended up getting an approval of a majority of Regents. Five times there was just one vote in opposition and in one case, three of the nine members voted No.
Regent Marlin “Ike” Glass, Jr., of Newkirk, who was first appointed in 1997 by Governor Frank Keating and was reappointed to a second nine-year term by Governor Brad Henry in 2006, said he was shocked to hear the numbers. ”I personally feel like any time somebody is against something they’re going to vote against it,” Glass said. ”I’m not a rubber stamp. That’s not going to happen with me. But most of the cases, when we get the data from whomever we might be obtaining it from, that data normally substantiates what we do in all cases.”
The minutes show that since January 2007, Glass never voted No and abstained from one vote dealing with a policy on undocumented students. Of the current members of the Regents for Higher Education, Jimmy Harrel of Leedy has dissented the most. He cast votes against tuition and fee increases in 2007 and in 2011 (the increases were contained in one vote in 2007 and two separate votes in 2011). Regent William Price of Tulsa voted no twice: in 2007 against the undocumented student policy and in 2008 against an item taken off the Consent Docket dealing with payment of contributions to the retirement plan. Regent Julie Carson of Claremore voted against the 2008 retirement plan payment and abstained from the vote on undocumented students. Regent Joseph Parker of Tulsa voted against creating a new Associate’s Degree in Gaming in 2007. All the other Regents have cast only Yes votes.
Many of the votes taken during a meeting are routine, such as approval of the minutes of the previous meeting and whether to go into a closed session. But the period reviewed also included six budgets, six tuition hearings and numerous additions and deletions of courses and programs of study. Glass says while the actual meetings move fast, he gets a lot of input before making his vote. ”We try to move on these things with the best knowledge and the best minds we have access to,” said Glass. ”We’re doing the best we can do.”