SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On May 2, 2023, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced that she’s appointed two new members, Jim Lochner and Doug Morrison, to the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR).
Lochner previously served in a capacity as COO for poultry producer Tyson Foods, a position from which he retired in 2014. Morrison, meanwhile previously worked in the banking industry in Minnesota before serving on the Sioux Falls School Board from 2008-2017, and as data services director for the district since 2017.
Two men with diverse backgrounds, this raised the question of just what qualifications are required to serve on the Board of Regents, which oversees all publicly owned post-secondary institutions in the state of South Dakota.
These qualifications are laid out in state law under chapter 13-49, and they are minimal.
After noting that the BOR is vested with the “control of the public postsecondary educational institutions of the state,” the law tells us that the board will consist of nine members, chosen by the governor and approved by the Senate.
Chapter 13-49, section 2 outlines ‘qualifications of members of the board.
Under this section it is stated that members shall be “a person of probity and wisdom,” meaning that they will possess the quality of having ‘strong moral principles’ and be ‘wise.’ It goes on that the members will be “selected from among the best known citizens, who are residents of different portions of the state.”
Here we get our first definite qualification, which is that “no two regents may be residents in the same county and not more than six may be members of the same political party.” The statute notes that a regent’s residence is determined by where they are registered to vote.
Beyond this, the only further requirement is that one regent must be a student regent.
Under state law, each of the non-student regents will serve a six-year term. As for the student-regent, who must attend one of the state’s public post-secondary institutions, they are appointed to a two-year term.
If a regent was appointed after July 1, 2018, and they have not previously been a board member, they are not allowed to serve more than two consecutive six-year terms, though they may be reappointed for additional terms after a two year break.
If a vacancy on the BOR occurs, the governor is entitled to appoint someone to fulfill the remainder of the term, though they must be approved by the Senate in the next legislative session. If the Senate does not approve the appointee, they will serve until the last day of March, at which time the governor will appoint another member, who will be considered by the Senate in the next session.